In the letter you sent You tried to explain to me– I couldn’t understand. You Tried to condense Fifteen years of unspoken Words into A song you said I needed to know Why you floated– Why you made your Choices and broken Promises
This piece of prose is meant to serve a dual purpose: provide a life update and artistically reflect on 2020.
Have you heard of this thing? It’s called, “Slow Food.”
I shake my head. “Isn’t that cooking?”
“No, no. Not like that.” Judgmental tuts put me in my place.
People are always waiting to tell other people they’re breathing the wrong way because it isn’t the way they learned how to breathe.
I stare at my ceiling as my partner falls asleep. “Is my food meant to be causing constipation?” What is meant by slow? Sounds uncomfortable.
2020 distorts time like light passing through water and glass – the concentrated pockets brighten momentarily, but fade into the surrounding textures and patterns. I’m reminded of Bay Time – of a place in my past that no longer exists – when waking up during the blue hour meant a circuit of nets and crab pots, checking juvenile oyster baskets for conchs as they float tethered and returning by mid-morning on a clear day – when our family’s laughter sparkled off the water for hours as we chattered and picked steamed crab from exoskeletons. Hand-packed. Frozen. Thawed. Remembered.
Did I remember to respond to those emails last week? What about those interview questions I was going to write? What is Slow Food?
I create daily menus as my partner’s coworkers abandon ship for economic mirages. The grass is always greener… says the cow chewing cud.
What started as a chance to write 6 books turns into 6 unfinished books and 4 shelved ones. No one reads this. Why would anyone want to? Is there a world where my words matter?
“No, no. Not like that.” Say the rejections I receive.
I search for staff writing and editing positions at places that might acknowledge and apologize for microaggressions. Where I would feel safe bringing them up. I try to imagine a writing position where I could continue to find growth. I take two weeks off wondering if they’ve realized I’m the only staff editor they didn’t acknowledge the birthday of yet.
“No, no. Not like that.” Says the writing group I try out, but don’t feel comfortable going back to after the group leader says those that are talented at writing fiction are narcissists… after she compliments my ability to write fiction.
I read antique poetry books for inspiration and tell myself I’ll finish A Hundred Different Skies. I’ll finish at least one to be sure. But no one will read it. Why would they? Not even my family supports me anymore.
I stop getting on Twitter after our friend dies. He’s not the first death this year. My heart hurts. I’m told to take care of myself, but in isolation it’s not that simple. The words don’t come when I try to talk about the brick building on Poquoson Ave. I begin seriously considering mortuary school again.
“Have you tried Slow Food?”
“Isn’t that cooking?” I stare at these pages of unpolished text.
I lose a close friend to schizophrenia. She creates 15+ phone numbers and iMessage accounts to call and harass me about how I am the grey goo in her computer — about how I knew about the people living in her walls — about how the literary magazine I gave her in Summer 2018 predicted all of this. I try not to dwell on wedding pictures. My voicemail box fills regularly to the point my doctors can’t get ahold of me.
For the first summer since undergrad I lose count of the number of times I’ve been camping. This feels like the correct number of times. I start to wish I didn’t have to go home and find myself learning how to do seasonal prepping of food for the winter. I already knew.
“Have you tried Slow Food?”
“Isn’t that cooking?” My entire life has changed, but I haven’t found a new normal. Nothing is normal, and the only thing “slow” is Schrödinger’s Time in this box of a year trying to tell me everything is both fine and not fine at the same time.
But “No, no. Not like that,” says the world as it spins madly on.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my writing today. If you enjoyed this piece, please like, comment, and/or share it. This helps me know which posts my readers enjoy the most.
It’s been a while since I adulterated chocolate chip cookies. This time we went about it by making a triple batch of base dough, then split it into five parts. Four were frozen as logs to be thawed and adulterated at a later time. The fifth? We went ahead and tried out adding Old Bay.
After the giant batch of dough was made by tripling the method described here, we put some in a bowl and added a teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning.
Now, some of you, if you’re anything like Jacob, do not trust me. You think, “wtf?! Old Bay?!”
I am from the part of the United States where we put Old Bay on everything – accidentally or purposely. Plus, you can’t tell me what’s normal, I’m descended from ship captains, chemists, geophysicists, engineers (both civil and otherwise), bootleggers, stockyard accountants, and FORTRAN/COBOL programmers. Do not twist, shred, crumple, and/or mutilate the cards for an accurate read out. We’re explorers of our curiosities and proud of it.
Knead the Old Bay through the dough until throughly mixed and form into a ball or log. At this step you could freeze your flavored cookie dough, but this is when we’re taste testing.
I wanted larger cookies, but you should be able to easily divide the dough into 12 dough balls.
Bake on the top rack (for a crispy bottom and chewy top, though get the dough cold first or it may rise too much). Checking that the dough is below 76 degrees prior to baking should be sufficient (this is the temperature at which coconut oil solidifies – the colder the better). I regret skipping that step. Do this after the dough balls have been formed.
The baking step should take about 10 minutes on a greased metal cookie sheet, but keep in mind the caveats mentioned in my previous post.
I’m happy to share that this combination was delightful! The cookies disappeared so fast that we failed to get reaction pictures.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read about this creative adulteration of instant chocolate chip cookies. If you enjoyed this post, please like, share, and/or leave a comment. This helps me know which posts my readers like best. I encourage readers to try new things, experiment, and don’t be afraid to replace ingredients if you’re allergic to them. You’d be amazed what you might discover!
Today’s poem is dedicated to a special demographic. For those unaware, Accomack County is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Virginia. Tangier Island, one of our treasured communities, is safe, but if the pandemic reaches its shores the results could be devastating. I’ve been a Bull Islander and a Shoreman, and by that, I am blessed.
Ode To The Chesapeake Bay Watermen
We go out in boats Catch the sun’s morning rays In nets and crab pots Tossed over the sides Into brackish green depths These channels – our roadways Through marshes and creeks The bay feeds our veins Where we have sewn seeds Young oysters – new reefs Repairing pollution To save our way of life Our houses on stilts (As sea levels rise) Overlook a world over water And ospreys laugh songs We bring in our bushels To markets by shores Sell seafood by dozens No quotas or weights And pray to a God For mercy and hope In the next hurricane There never been Noahs In the many Great Floods But still, we are People of faith
Thank you so much for reading my poem today! If you found its words meaningful, please consider liking, commenting, and/or sharing it with others. Truly, I am grateful for the time you spent reading my work.