Well, that was unexpected. I needed a writing sample for this fellowship application, and I pondered for a bit and realized what I really wanted to submit was a food essay, since I’m hoping to write and place a bunch of food essays, then turn them into some kind of memoir-thing.
But I’ve actually been planning this for many many months, and even took a food writing class online with Pooja Makhijani, and while I had written a whole bunch of bits and pieces, none of them had really cohered into an essay yet.
BUT I had a little time tonight (thank you, grants folks, for an 11:59 p.m. deadline, much appreciated), so around 6:30, I told Kevin I was going to go hide in the shed and try to write something. Five hours later, having taken work heavily from various earlier projects that never quite cohered, I appear to have written a 4100 word essay that I’m moderately pleased with.
This is actually a tremendous relief, because I kept saying and saying that I was going to write food essays, but not actually doing it. Maybe I just needed a deadline to get me over the hump.
I could use a few beta readers before I try submitting it anywhere. Also, I have to research who publishes 4000 word food essays. If you’re interested in taking a look and sending me your thoughts, drop your e-mail in comments.
“The day I arrived in this country, the taxi driver deposited me safely at Galle Face Hotel, a colonial dream. Two hundred years old, and for a long time the province of white masters who enjoyed the service of their brown-skinned, white-jacketed servants. The lobby wasn’t air-conditioned, unlike the more modern five-star hotels down the street; it sat open to the salt breezes and the occasional drift of sunshine. A man in crisp white uniform brought me a glass of fresh juice, which might have been the best thing I’d tasted in my life. Mango, distilled to its pure, explosive essence; what I’d been drinking as mango in America was insolent imitation. On this island, reality shifted and took on new forms. My old certainties felt fragile, ready to shatter at a thought, or an unkind word.”