Just my 39 cents worth…
My daughter flew in Thursday, and as usual is spending quality time with her Mawmaw (my mother). One of the things my daughters love when they go to Mawmaw’s house is to pull out the old recipe books–you know, the ones that were made by church ladies as fund-raisers. Tucked between those faded and worn covers and loose yellowed pages are other recipes, shared and collected in handwritten or typewritten index cards, or clipped from magazines or newspapers.
This was one of my favorites, but what caught my eye is that special ingredient: 1 pkg white silvered almonds (39c size).
That would be a hard-to-find ingredient.
It made me wonder, later, if this recipe reflects a handicap in my writing. For example, many of you know how I love rhyme. I write it all the time. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) I now wonder if that’s because I grew up on Dr. Seuss. From the time I could read about a cat in the hat I’ve dreamed of writing tales like that. (Ooops.) The sing-songiness of one of my recent stories was pointed out by a great published rhyme-writer of considerable fame. I hadn’t realized the problem, of course (love for your own story is blind), but she gracefully pointed out that factor in my story.
I am probably writing to other 1960′s aspects that are dated, too. Animals–the ones that talk–populate my stories. Is that a hold-over from my childhood? Are my characters locked in the cold-war time frame? Should I be suspicious of my picture-book settings (barnyards, backyards, alleys)?
This 39 cent discovery has made me begin to take a critical look at my work. I’m certainly going to be more conscious of the childhood reader influence. This food-inspired moment of nostalgia has set up a caution in my craft.
It may not be a golden discovery. At most, it’s probably silvered. But who knows? A 39 cent package of almonds just might pay off, in time. And that, dear reader, could be delicious.