Wednesday, April 01, 2009

She doesn't play tricks.


  1. This is the way the espresso maker works. You fill the bottom with water to where the screw is. You put espresso coffee grinds into the strainer and fit it in the bottom. Screw the top on and put it on the element turned to high (a small element because my mom recently told me not to put small things on large elements). 
  2. My dad took me into the basement before I left after Christmas. Pieces of paper and photographs and projects on tables all around, laundry escaping baskets in the corner. "I have some books, do any of these interest you?" I take Alice Munro, George Elliot Clarke. 
  3. I read Who Do You Think You Are
  4. I take notes, notes about Alice Munro and Canadian women. Notes for a class discussion that will not happen, notes for an exam that is not coming, notes for what? I write notes by hand. 
  5. At the Salvation Army, I buy an impossibly full bag of buttons, colorful old buttons, all shanks (what are the chances of this?) with their proud fronts and practical backs. I have no plans for these buttons, there is no dress in the works that requires hundreds of shank buttons down the back, each its own size and colour. Buttons for what? 
  6. I'm won over by their packaging, a rinsed out and yellowing milk bag with two staples in the top. $2 spent on a rinsed out milk bag and no plans. When she lived with us, my nana would keep milk bags rinsed and folded in the bottom drawer in the kitchen.
  7. My beardy, thoughtful, 48-year old uncle does the 25 things meme on Facebook and mentions Alice Munro. My notes are probably wrong, then. I've been overfeminizing her, feeling at once too much claim on her and too much distance. I didn't know men liked Alice Munro. 
  8. Alice Munro has a pattern, writing shadows of the same characters and the same stories over and over. Practicing for perfect and welcoming suspicions of autobiography. This is what we have: rural poverty; graphic and vivid experiences of life/death/sex/shame; tweedy, gifted women students who are ahead of their time (here we may meet Atwood, cross paths with each other on a slushy street corner, both cold and shabby and waiting for the street car; ridiculously small adult luxuries that may grow into a strangely unfulfilling freedom or ill-fitting middle class comfort. 
  9. Gravity reverses and parts become a whole. Coffee pours up through the strainer into its holding chamber, and is poured into a pot. Two tablespoons of sugar, the rest of the milk. 
  10. Do I rinse out the bag? Rinse it out, let it dry, fold it over and keep it in a drawer for future purpose? What would I save a milk bag for? 
  11. After dinner, in the living room with our coffees and candles, my best friend practically whispers: "Alice Munro is boring." She says she feels like she has to go out outside and spit 3 times for saying it. Attracting the evil eye of Canadian literature. It's never occured to me, but it might be true. She might be boring. But then, that might just be the trick. 
  12. The sound the buttons make when poured into a pile. 
  13. The sound the coffee makes when poured into a mug. 

1 comment:

rage said...

You help me believe the world is still beautiful.