My partner and I do quick 10 minute writing exercises to sort of break our thinking, relax our thinking, get out of ourselves. They’re fast, they’re not precious or important–all for fun.
We’ve been using Natalie Goldberg for a while–Old friend and far away–it’s been a great source of fun for us. The other day we did a 10 minute exercise to break a particularly nasty mood I was in…Here’s the assignment:
“How do you feel about apples? What is your impression of plums? When was the last time you peeled a tangerine? Can you eat five ripe peaches in a row? Why did summer mean so much–and the last two summers fail you? You guessed it. Write about all this.”
And here’s the pugilistic paean I wrote:
It’s patently absurd to be talking about summer, peaches, plums and tangerines in the same breath. It’s like a “What doesn’t fit” question on a cognitive ability test.
Of course I can eat five peaches in a row during summer. I could easily do it every day of peach season during summer. If I could somehow ingest summer itself, I would do so with blatant gluttony. The closest I can come is eating a box of Santa Rosa plums, a box of peach-o-rama peaches in season, a pound of cherries, a bowl of nectarines, a mound of apricots. The sheer unabashed gluttony of and for summer.
Listen, fruit is no laughing matter to me. It’s serious business. When the cherry tree is sparkling with ripe fruit in summer, me and the robins are duking it out. If that pound of peaches I bought has one that was picked too soon, I grumble about the state of the world. I’m already working with myself to set expectations around the ever more rare Santa Rosa plums and the potential of their showing at the farmer’s market this season–abandon all hope on that one.
No, fruit is serious biz for me. So when somebody says, “write about peaches, plums, tangerines and summer,” I have to hold my hand up and say, “Not so fast, there, just hold on. Did you say tangerines, motherf*cker?!”