Words + Pancakes

November 6, 2010

Sometimes an insight or string of insights come along and need to be shared instantly, like serving pancakes hot off the griddle–melting butter is an important part of the full pancake experience along with maple syrup; preferably, the real stuff.

To digress greatly, my great aunts in Vermont’s Northern Kingdom used to gift each family member every Christmas with a quart of amber gold: grade A maple syrup.  There was a time when I could have opened a small Maple Syrup General store so much of the stuff was crowding my cupboard. Apparently, I don’t eat pancakes as often as Vermonters, or maybe they just drink the stuff straight up; it is a question I never bothered to ask, but I wondered how many other family members had the same challenge finding shelf space for all those tan, green-lidded quarts.

I perpetually harbored a low-grade guilt for stockpiling but not consuming such a delicacy in time for the next holiday installment.  A bit of a minimalist by nature, it was probably the closest I’d ever come to hoarding, which frankly bothered me.  When I found out a friend’s ailing family member loved the stuff, I must have given her enough jugs’ worth to fill a bathtub–the stuff well sealed lasts probably halfway to eternity anyway.

But getting back to the original musing, I have been trying to discern these days between prophetically-oriented words that are meant to age like wine; and which are meant to be shared immediately like hotcakes before they are too cold to be truly tasty.

At this point, you might have the following response to this post. That’s okay. I’m still trying to figure out the application myself.

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2 Responses to “Words + Pancakes”

  1. findingthemotherlode said

    “You can say anything you want, yessir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend…I bow to them…I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down…I love words so much…The unexpected ones…The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop…Vowels I love..They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew…I run after certain words… They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem…I catch them in midflight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives . . . And I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go…I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves…Everything exists in the word…”

    -From Memoirs by Pablo Neruda (NY: Penguin, 1974), p. 53.

    A friend sent this to me about a year ago. I opened my mouth and in jumped a fish. Before I knew what it was, I gulped.

    The words, they come, some not so fast. Others swim past. All in a day’s work. Or lifetime.

    They’re one in the same, right?

    -E

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