Friday, November 13, 2009

Adding Flavor . . .Food Into Fiction

Happy Poetry Friday! 

A new poem and a Writing Workout are below. 

But first a brief commercial interruption. 

This is a gentle reminder about those goals you set for the New Year in conjunction with the contest to win my book, NEW YEAR AT THE PIER.   Remember that post?  Remember your goals? 

We’re expecting you to report back to us during the first two weeks in January.  If you didn't win the book last time, you'll have another chance in January when you report on your progress. How did you do? Who or what helped you? Who or what hindered you?

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

I asked my nephew Josh, who’s a high school science teacher, how I could introduce this week’s topic of food and fiction.

“Well, you could have them write a poem in ketchup,” he said.  That’s Josh for you. (Wouldn’t you love to be in one of his science classes?)


Message written in ketchup

 And actually, that was a very good place to begin, because I’m quite comfortable writing in food.

The night before anyone in our family has a birthday, I sneak down to the kitchen and write “Happy Birthday” in raisins.  It’s tradition.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up to a raisin birthday card, really?


You guessed it...raisins!

I told Josh this.  He said, “Then you could write a poem about what happens to it when the birds come.”

Wow. 

I thought about my best friend, author Bruce Balan who’s sailing around the world on a catamaran.  (To be specific, he just left the Minerva Reef - a ring of coral less than 3 miles across, 250 miles southwest of Tonga – heading 800 miles to New Zealand.)

And I wrote this poem:

BIRD DAY CARD
by April Halprin Wayland

You’re at sea.
I’m on land.

It’s your birthday.

So I’m writing Happy Birthday
on the patio

in sunflower seeds
from my garden.

When the birds come
they will eat my words.

One of them
will fly out to sea,

will circle your boat,
will sit on your deck.

Can you guess
how that bird

will spell out
I miss you?

© April Halprin Wayland

Uh...okay…clearly I got into a bind with this poem!  I mean, I started out starry-eyed and poetic…and then I thought…Uh-oh…there’s only one way for the bird to bring those seeds to the boy on that boat…

It’s not exactly where I meant to go.  And I don’t mean to offend anyone.

But it is kind of funny.

So…here’s today's        

 Writing Workout

Think about a message you might write in food.
What food?
What message?
To whom? 

What happens when the message is received—if it is?
Now, write a poem or a story.
With joy, of course.
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Check out author Michelle Markel's terrific blog, The Cat and the Fiddle...today she lists Ten Things Picture Book Writers Can Learn From Shrek!  She's a terrific author (most recently of TYRANNOSAURUS MATH) and a fabulous teacher.

photos by April Halprin Wayland

6 comments:

jama said...

What a yummy post. I'm SO going to spell out "Happy Birthday" in raisins to my husband tomorrow!!

Lyra said...

Did Josh write "I love you" in ketchup or was that you?! Great idea. At the farmers market Wed. I got 2 lamb chops from lambs raised in Dixon, about 8 miles from us. I hadn't intended to buy lamb from the very nice guy who raised them, Martin Emigh, but we got to talking.... My first local lamb cooking is happening right now. At first I was going to make plain lamb stew, but I remembered that Indian lamb dishes can taste mighty good. So I'm doing an easy version of lamb with onions. It's on the stove right now; cumin, hot green peppers & garam marsala make it nicely Indian. And the whole thing is a love note to my husband. (Maybe a raisin note, too.) He loves my cooking & tells me all the time. This is for you, AJ. No leftovers tonight!

Teri said...

Do you remember in kindergarten when we made special food for a Thanksgiving meal to be shared by the two classes? We dressed up as pilgrims and Indians too. Half of us were pilgrims, and churned butter, the others were Indians and crayoned on their Dad's old shirts to make buckskin clothes. I think they made popcorn. I remember us all sitting down to share this wonderful feast, and of course, we were learning to write in food by making a meal with special foods that carried a meaning, like words.

Many years later I went to a wonderful meal made by a Spanish artist who created a feast that looked like a well cared for garden on the table, but the flowerpots were loaves of bread and the dirt was chocolate and the flowers were carved fruits and vegetables. We ate from the flowerpots with tiny trowels and drank from small watering cans. Her message was written in food and a little harder to understand, but we had so much fun!

-Teri

-Teri

Anne Greenberg said...

And who can forget macaroni pictures from our youth? Not quite so poetic, but quite a smile!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Yes, I wrote "I love you" in ketchup...

And I like the idea that the whole meal is a love note.

And memories of pilgrims...I remember churning butter!

Send us your food pictures...I never made macaroni pictures, but I'd love to see yours!

laurasalas said...

April, you never made macaroni pictures? Where on earth did you grow up? Couldn't have been the U.S. I didn't think ANY of us escaped without making multitudes of macaroni pix. Ha!

Love your poem. I think the whole change in tone is actually what makes it! Thanks for the laugh on the start of a stressful day. I needed it.