Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Story Starter

It's like sourdough, only with more typing.

I'm back!  Seaside was great, except for the weather most of the time.  Which culminated in the Great Cheese Curd Tragedy:  I'd told my friend Kathryn that we could stop on the way back to Hubbard at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where huge blocks of cheddar are cut down to those relatively small "baby bricks" we buy at the store, the ice cream is somehow sweeter next to the cows, the grilled cheese sandwiches are legendary and you get lots of free Squeeeeky Cheese! 

As we pulled out of Seaside, we were met by a police car parked in the middle of the road and a lady holding a stop sign like Gandalf - "You Shall Not Pass!!"

"Highway's closed," she mumbled when I rolled down the window.

"But... how will we get home?!"  I asked, when I actually meant how will I get my cheese, but figured that the cruel world doesn't understand how big of a deal that really is.

"I don't know where home is, ma'am."  Can I even express how much I hate being called Ma'am?  It's what I say to people on the phone when they're pissing me off just to be a bitch right back.  "Hold on a second, ma'am.  Let me get someone for you, MA'AM."  Ma'am = you psychotic, cranky whore I really don't want to deal with.  Either way, ma'am or no, she didn't give a shit about my plight.  Apparently, for some reason, flooded-out roads are a bigger deal.

I did get to go to Pig 'N Pancake, though.  I even got Pigs In Pancakes!   And a souvenir that lives on my desk and reminds me of the stormy and misunderstood coastal paradise where I learned about narrative distance and started really, honestly and for truly believing I can do this whole writing thing.  I actually got a smidge of a taste leaving me hungry for the rest of the writing life.

This semester I'm going to be writing a piece about canning, and how its rise reflects our political and cultural situation.  When I was talking to Kathryn about it on the ride home, she suggested how it would relate to my Disneyland piece as a food memoir.  There are a couple other pieces I've already been wanting to write, including one about my dad and wine and a really snobby wine hack at my first job, and a story about all of the restaurants I've always wanted to open but never did, relating to my experience doing personal chef work and looking at vacant retail space for a cafe while I was laid off.  So that's my new goal, an untitled food memoir.

But I did come up with a great pitch for it while I was driving back from Safeway yesterday!  "Fanatical foodie hits the bread lines during the Great Recession."  Hells yeah.  Now I just have to write the fucking thing.


  1. I see another Grapes of Wrath in the making-sort of, except non-fiction. It sounds great though. Sad about the cheese. Sounds like a wonderful excuse to head to the coast when the weather gets better!

  2. Oooo, so many Steinbeck parallels! Eats of Eden, Grapes of Wrath... you could even make the argument that Taco Tuesdays was heavily influenced by Of Mice and Men. I don't really even like Steinbeck all that crazy-much, but I guess the influence on American writers is inevitable.
    I can't wait for springtime cheese!!

  3. Those roads were wicked! We went through them on the shuttle and by the time the water was up over the wheels I started thinking our driver was a bit psycho.

    I love the eating literary ideas! You non-fiction writers may just woo me to the other side!