Internet Diary 12/22–12/29

Ring and Run

Dreams, recipes, links, unsent tweets, facts that stick around.

A dark cloud against lighter clouds, framed on three sides by tree branches.
A dark cloud against lighter clouds, framed on three sides by tree branches.
Somewhere in the Catskills in 2018. Author’s own.

“I’m sorry, I can’t read anything right now, but have fun with it!”

— Unsent tweet from my draft’s file, with no available context, back in March.

I woke up the other day to the sound of a doorbell. My husband was still asleep. I got up and went to the door and no one was outside. “Did you hear a doorbell,” I asked him, later, when he woke up. “We don’t have one,” he said. “We have a knocker.” There hadn’t been anyone at the door for so long, I didn’t remember this. It was apparently a dream, a very short dream, long enough to wake me up, like the day playing ring and run.

“Years ago, when he was thinking about writing an autobiography, John le Carré recounts, he hired two detectives to research him and his family. As the son of a flamboyant con man, as a spy for Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and as a novelist who spent his days making up things, truth and memory tended to blur together: “I’m a liar, I explained. Born to lying, bred to it, trained to it by an industry that lies for a living, practiced in it as a novelist.” He was interested in learning the facts of his life, he told the detectives — since, “as a maker of fictions, I invent versions of myself, never the real thing, if it exists.””

— from the beginning to a review Michiko Kakutani wrote of the one book of autobiographical writing John le Carré published. She shared it on Twitter the day he died.

A tweet about favorite Wong Kar Wai scenes sends me on a search for them which leads me to Films at Lincoln Center online, where they are having a Wong Kar Wai online festival.

A photo of a Jean Valentine Poem, “Even all night long.”

The wonderful poet Jean Valentine has died, and so social media is full of her poems. This one stood out to me tonight.

If you ever wonder, “Where did hamburgers come from,” Louis’ in New Haven makes that claim.

The Huffington Post was founded in 2005, which means my memory of reading it in 2004 is either a delusion, the memory of a vivid premonition, or something else, irreconcilable, hiding in these details — a textbook Freudian cover memory.

On a Facebook thread recently I learned some of my Chicago friends fondly remember the Black Panther’s Bean Pie from their childhood there. As I had never heard of bean pie, it made me curious, so I looked up and found a recipe and this short history.

“She’d married, been made a mother, lost a mother, been legally divorced, finally was fully orphaned by her father’s death. Her father, who had been heartbroken when Aksel disappeared, for his own sake. Who else would breakfast with him on white wine and oysters? Who would discuss the complexities of savory pies: pork, kidney, the empanada versus the Cornish pasty? They had adored each other. Enormous and bearded, condescending and fond, ravenous, sad-eyed, the pair of them. Mortifying, when Joanna thought about it, how alike they were — her friends had commented on it. It was her father who referred to Aksel as a common-law husband, when he was in every way a boyfriend, including the way she thought about him years later: with a lechery untouched by having to legally untangle.”

— Elizabeth McCracken, from her new story, “The Souvenir Museum,” in Harper’s.

“This is a common fugue for many Asian Americans: Spam, eggs, and rice. The nostalgic valances that stem from that salty, pink block of luncheon meat go way back for some of us, not least because it represents a very specific experience: what it was like growing up in America with immigrant parents. Choi remembers, for instance, only eating Spam when her mom and dad were out for the night, usually at work. On such evenings, she and her sister were in charge of feeding themselves and their younger brother. Spam was an obvious choice, not least because it was so easy to heat: Just slice the block into thin rectangles and sear in a dry pan until crispy on both sides, like bacon. (No oil needed. There’s plenty of fat in the product itself.)”

— From Table For One, Eric Kim’s column at Food 52.

Author of the novels THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT and EDINBURGH, and the essay collection HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL.

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