Let me introduce you to my desk.
It's a cherry slab with a deep gouge. It weighs a ton. It dates back to my grad school days in Somerville, Massachusetts. Today, and every day, it's littered with papers, with news clippings, with stacks of fluorescent post-its. I neaten it often, but within seconds, it reverts to its natural state. One can only do so much.
An ornate, hand-blown glass holds my scissors, my Sharpies, my Uniball pens. A funky thing with serpentine feet, it was a gift from a stranger, a man who stopped at my table when I sold Ripe at farmers markets in 2012. He'd chatted me up for a good, long while, told tales of his art and his teenage daughter. He wasn't my standard book-buyer. Single dad, tattooed, leather-clad, he was rough-looking, but kind.
He left without a cookbook. That's okay, I thought. It's fine.
The next week he came to a reading I gave at the library. This time he'd brought his daughter. Hello, he said. Do you remember me? And I did.
He bought her my book, and gave me the glass. A gift, for no reason. I made this, he said, and thought you might like it. Though it sits on my desk day in and day out, I'd forgotten the story of that glass until now. I'm glad it came up. Thank you for that.
Above my desk is a small ledge with a bunch of bric-a-brac: a pile of gift cards no one remembers, a teetering stapler that falls on my laptop, a set of small baskets. One holds a double A battery, 2 binder clips, 3 rubber bands. Another has safety pins, stamps, and a USB key shaped like a strawberry.
Behind it are three photos: one each of my two boys and a third of my mother and grandmother. That third one is upside down, always. The wire frame that holds it is bent, so each time I straighten the photo it swings upside down again. I've stopped fixing it. My mother and grandma, long gone now, are perpetually upside down on my desk. But they're there. They're there.
While everyone else is cleansing and purifying and resolving and generally doing what they do in January, I'm like my desk: a jumble of this and that, all frenetic energy, disorganization, and riotous chaos. I'm the weird glass vessel, the wayward battery, the upside-down photo.
And it's great.
Let others approach the year with reverence, restraint, with rigorous calm.
I'm living in color, moving full-throttle, seeking the shiny and bright, the slightly askew.
Recipe for Avocado, Persimmon, and Pomegranate Salad
A brash jumble of bright hues, variable textures, and contrasting flavors, this salad makes a perfect snack for one. Scale things up as high as you like.
1/2 Fuyu persimmon, thinly sliced (or substitute a ripe red pear)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 tablespoon crumbled cheese (feta, ricotta salata, blue)
1 tablespoon salted pepitas or sunflower seeds (or nuts)
A sprinkling of pomegranate arils
A drizzle of pomegranate molasses
A drizzle of olive oil
Combine in a bowl and enjoy.
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