Our new babe, Cody James, arrived a week ago Monday and although I’m punch drunk tired from all the sleepless nights, I’m in rock star awe of this little guy. He’s here, he’s finally here! Having a newborn around again means life is much simpler—we tend to Cody’s needs; cook big pots of dal and rice pudding to keep warm throughout the day, read voraciously while he naps curled up next to us in the darkest hour of morning.
Kate Christensen’s new memoir Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites, in particular, has helped me through those bleary nights. The book is an emotionally driven narrative about eating, loving, screwing up, and bouncing back. It is sensual, heartbreaking, and joyful all at once.
“To taste fully is to live fully.” One of my favorite parts of the book is when Christensen describes a class she attended at the The Writers’ Workshop in Iowa. “During the first semester of my second year at Iowa, I took a workshop class with Allan Gurganus, who immediately became my favorite teacher there. He was dapper and ebullient and always wore a different tie to each workshop. He was also a warm, inspired teacher, opinionated, brilliant, funny; he loved real writing, hated pretentiousness. He encouraged visceral emotion, humor, real old-fashioned storytelling, rolled his eyes at cerebral formal coldness, egotistical displays of technique. he didn’t care what the literary trends and fashions were. He cared about what was good.” It’s an aside to those of us who desire to write with good pure “ingredients”.
After reading the last page of the book, I listened to the gurgles and grunts escape through his heart shaped lips. His hands shadow box nothing but air. Knees slide up and down against my chest as I hold him close.
He’ll lift his head up in no time at all. Let’s not rush it though.