16 July 2016

what is best in life?

General: We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
Warrior: The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
General: Wrong! Conan! What is best?
Conan: A ripe mango.
General: That is good! That is good.
(See also. It's worth noting that I haven't seen the movie Conan the Barbarian, and when I first composed the above text I accidentally wrote Cohen instead of Conan. Who else remembers Cohen the Barbarian? The comments are open to any and all discussion of Cohen the Barbarian, also Rincewind and Twoflower.)

Today, in between poking at revisions on a short story, I managed to produce a very credible version of this mango pie from The Woks of Life. (Used five mangoes and no lime zest, and I couldn't be fussed with the whipped cream—otherwise I followed their instructions to the letter.) The short story's rather questionable, but it sure is nice to have a completed first draft of something. There's no first draft that's worse than the blank page was, as the fellow said, and while I'm certain that there'll be expansions and additions and deletions I do at least have something that might sensibly be called a short story.

I won't be doing anything new when I observe that baking a pie is far more immediately rewarding than writing—this is as good a time as any to cite Grace Paley's lovely "The Poet's Occasional Alternative":
I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper
The rest is here. A pie, as she notes, needs no revisions. Although what she doesn't say that's also true is that a good poem and a good story last forever. A good pie lasts a few days at most.

See? Sic transit gloria mundi.
It turns out, in any case, that what's best in life is tea and pie in the garden in the early evening with one's family. Shock finding.

No comments:

Post a Comment