Thursday, November 23, 2006

Me three

I think I'd like to link something JSU already linked, because it reminds me how I'd like to think and write about opera. The blog doesn't appear to be entirely about opera but has a long post about a production of Nabucco that I'm in the middle of. Here's the link, and here's an excerpt:
And that is what you bring to the theatre: an unimaginably vast store of memories, any one of which could be unexpectedly brought into the light by something that happens as you sit and watch. Not necessarily on the stage, either, but the whole experience of being there.
She then lists some of these. I'm now about to quote food writing at you, not because I'm hungry or nuts, but because it reminded me of a foreword M.F.K. Fisher wrote to The Gastronomical Me that I think of as a guide on How to Write About Very Particular Things.

Not that I live up to it, but here it is:

People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don't you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do?

They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honor of my craft.

The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot write straightly of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it,...and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied...and it is all one.

I tell about myself, and how I ate bread on a lasting hillside, or drank red wine in a room now blown to bits, and it happens without my willng it that I am teling too about the people with me then, and their other deeper needs for love and happiness.

There is food in the bowl, and more often than not, because of what honesty I have, there is nourishment in the heart, to feed the wilder, more insistent hungers. We must eat. If, in the face of that dread fact, we can find other nourishment, and tolerance and compassion for it, we'll be no less full of human dignity.

There is a communion ofmore than our bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?


4 comments:

Alex said...

Lovely.

Maury D'annato said...

The rest of the book is also wonderful, but I just think the little foreword is one of those perfect things.

Anonymous said...

As with all of Fisher's writing the language sparkles and is alive on the page. She loved words as much as she loved food.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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