Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Failed at Faulkner, Now I've Failed at Rushdie

Did I ever tell you the story of the clamshells?

When we bought this house, we had three weeks before move-in day for John to paint away the rust color in the living room and the extreme orange in the loft. I thought it might be nice to pack him a dinner every night. I thought it would be cool to package it all up in a clamshell, just like fast food and doggy bags and things like that.

I went looking for styrofoam clamshells. Sam's Club had them--in packages of 100.

I could not give up my little clamshell idea, so I bought the whole 100 and hoped John would not tease me too badly about it.

I ended up not regretting that purchase because--you know what?--every time somebody has a baby and the ladies want you to sign up for a meal, one of the big headaches is deciding how to package it up.

No problem. Got ninety or so clamshells here.

Then we feed the missionaries by sending them Friday's leftovers.

No problem. Got eighty or so clamshells here.

Then Natalie comes to Sunday dinner. Talking her in to taking home some leftovers is easy.

And no problem. Got seventy or so clamshells here.

Anyway, I just used up my first 100 and went out and bought my second.

Here's what went into the clamshell this week:

Sausage French Bread Pizza

The original recipe called for raw vegetables, but I like them soft. Actually, just a bit blackened.

Over on the Finished Book Pile, we must admit that, again, we didn't finish something. Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children promises to tell the story of Saleem Sinai, who was born on the exact same midnight in which India gained her independence. Saleem tells his first-person tale to Padma (wife? girlfriend? housekeeper? I never figured it out) and takes so long to get to the actual birth that she complains bitterly about all the delays and tangents and "nonsense" in the story.

I couldn't keep everybody straight. I didn't like any of the characters. I didn't want to face a world where snakes come out of toilets. I kept falling asleep.

One day I opened the book and read, "It has been two whole days since Padma stormed out of my life." I wanted to say, "Wait up, Padma! I'm coming too!" And I closed this "marvelous epic" (says Newsweek) and picked up something else.

But I finished a book on CD. Restless me, I can hardly let a summer week go by without escaping to Chicago, or Cincinnati, or Louisville, or Columbus. The miles are long, especially after dark, and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles really made the cornfields and the Taco Bell billboards fly by.

Tess' face kept changing as I listened to her soft little Cockney accent. My young Tess was Helena Bonham Carter. I could just see the abundant kinky hair. Later, when she defended that husband of hers and sounded kind of incoherent, she turned into Kristen Stewart. Then she turned into someone in my ward. Then, when she appeared in fine lady clothes, she went blonde (!).

And speaking of defending that husband, I just wanted to throw the book across the room. But I had no book and I was not in a room. I was on a freeway, defending myself against sleepy truckers and gotcha state troopers. I could only bang my fist on the steering wheel and cry out, "Come on, Tess! Get mad! Gosh, did wives really act like this?"

The ending was completely unexpected. Wrapping things up just as I pulled into town from Columbus, the final scene clanged like a sad bell while I drove across the reservoir bridge a few miles from home.

Oops, did I give away too much?

That Thomas Hardy knows how to spin a tale.


  1. I read "Tess" when I was in 9th grade. I have seen the movie and it is a tragic story but I loved it. I soaked it up.
    Clamshells are an awesome idea! Think I'll copy you 'cause you're a smart chick!

  2. By clam shells, do you mean the styrofoam boxes like restaurants use?
    Jocile (not Richard)