On Sunday I attended a food writing workshop at Camp Long in Seattle, "Deep Feast Writing", taught by Vermont writer, Cresent Dragonwagon. Cresent wrote the definitive treatise on cornbread in 2007, "The Cornbread Gospels".
Scheduled from noon to 6, we didn't waste time. As each person registered, our instructions were to "turn your cell phone off and start writing". We learned the "Twelve Percepts of Fearless Writing", we participated in some games to see how stories take form, we ate a delicious potluck and got back to writing again. In one exercise, we were asked to pick a recipe or ingredient and have a dialogue with it. Okay.
Dialogue with Chiles -- Camp Long, Seattle 3/6/11
First, in the voice of chiles:
- I am the oldest cultivar in Mexico.
- Together with beans and corn I form the basis of Mexican cuisine.
- I am flavor and heat and dimension.
- I stimulate language and culture.
- I protect myself from predators.
- I am a form of currency.
- I am a usurperor of ketchup.
- I have a protocol.
- I am misunderstood.
- I am feared.
- My intensity cannot be measured.
- I bring joy - serotonin.
Next, in my voice:
- I first met you when I was born.
- Your smell was always there.
- Your nature first pricked my tongue and I rejected you as a child.
- Through my mother's entreaties, you would occasionally find your way onto my beans and rice.
- My father over-ate you and died from those complications.
- You always reminded me -- wherever I went -- of who I am and from where I come.
- You waited for me to learn about you.
- You opened my world when I got comfortable with you.
- You are there when I need you.
- You are smooth, silky, dark, musky, floral, bright.
- You evoke tears, laughter, love, sex
Wow! If Cresent can get this out of me in six hours, imagine what her four-day Vermont workshop can produce.