I spread creamy peanut butter and bumbleberry jam on whole wheat tortillas to toast on the griddle; shred carrots, slice and steam them; core apples–sometimes red, sometimes green– and pour small cups of milk. Tomorrow, I will make stacks of pancakes from a store of flour, a teaspoon of sugar, a dash of salt. I am proud of my pancakes, they rise and puff flecked blue and red or spread into an indelible pumpkin orange. We eat them late in the morning. I drink hot, black coffee.
What they did not tell me about growing up is that it doesn’t really happen, that playing house and make-believe and doing craft projects is another way of going on. I pull weeds and feel dirt squish, crumble, fall; rake leaves into a mound of whisper and hush.
If I haven’t grown up yet, I never will.
What they did not tell me about writing is its intrinsic need to be understood, to be specific, clear. I never chose writing, it’s the simplest thing I know to do. I’d rather be a carpenter, a plumber, an ant. I don’t seek out story. I seek release.
What they did not tell me about wearing black is that it’s safe to be dark. And it’s warm. That on some strange day mid-morning, I would be caught in a parking lot with a plastic bag of colored chalk and a man would approach, “Excuse me,” he would say, “I find you very attractive, is there any chance you’re single?” I’d laugh then, still walking, certain he’d lost a bet. “No. I’m engaged,” I’d say and flash an emerald ring. They did not tell me I’d remember this later while hunched at the dining room table gorged on coffee an hour after we’d eaten all the tortillas from the plate.
From Shawna Kenney (@shawnajkenney ) “@PennyJars My fave writing prompts to give students are: ‘I remember…’ & ‘What they don’t tell you about ___ is…'” Both of these prompts are terrible fun. Care to take a stab in the comments section?