I wake up some mornings and I don’t really want to get up and write, but something (Georg?) is tapping at my brain and I simply have to get up and start putting words down on paper. Or rather, digital information onto this screen. Basically, my fingers need to move ideas from my mind into reality, a place where someone could read what I have written, even if that someone is only me.
Eventually, I hope all this early-morning tapping and nudging will push me to get further along with my (temporarily) stalled novel. Heck, I would welcome a 14-line sonnet at this point. Poetry and storytelling both seem to be eluding me at the moment. Blogging comes naturally, without difficulty or fanfare. And so, I blog.
I have noticed lately that Georg pops into my head when I am cooking. If you knew my dad, you knew his culinary talents. He had a way with food that made you stop in your tracks, made you get really excited about eating. Cooking truly was an art form for him. Not only did his creations engage the taste buds, but they were equally stimulating to the eye. And the olfactory system. Georg’s food looked, smelled, and tasted great.
Right after he died, many old friends wrote to me to express their condolences. Invariably, people remembered him to me not only for his art but for his cooking. Often, people would cite one particular meal they had experienced. Their notes would begin, “I remember a particular dinner that Georg cooked…” and they would describe ingredients, smells, and flavors. Mostly, it was about a mood, a sense, a gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). Georg was very good at that kind of thing.
Last night, my cupboards were running low. I had some bacon that needed to be fried up. One egg. The notion of spaghetti carbonara entered my thoughts. Did I have spaghetti? No, but I had elbow macaroni. Georg-in-my-head said, “That will work! Do it!” Okay, Dad. Tell me what to do.
I fried up the bacon and chopped it into little pieces. Boiled the pasta. Beat the egg and extended it with a splash of milk. Threw a pad of butter on the drained macaroni and the last of my shredded parmesan. Whisked the beaten egg into the mix. Voila!
I had a carbonara that would have made Georg proud. I ate it. I thought of him. I did not cry, exactly, but I felt sad. I missed him and would have liked to call him and tell him about my “bottom-of-the-barrrel carbonara.” He would have approved of that mightily.
This is how remembering someone you love is like eating. Afterward, you feel full.