More About Me Than You Need to Know (and a recipe for guacamole)
My kids often ask me to tell them stories about when I was a kid. Today, I've got a childhood story for you.
When I was about 9 or 10, I remember sitting in a bean bag in the children's section of the public library, reading a Danielle Steele novel. When my mom came over and saw what I was reading, she quickly took the book away and rightly informed me that I was too young to read Danielle Steele. I was dismayed, and probably a little embarrassed. It was years before I picked up another Danielle Steele book, only to realize that her books were not my thing. Mother knows best.
Fast forward a few years, when I was not allowed to see the movie, A Handmaid's Tale, because it was rated R. Somehow I discovered that the movie was based on a book (how did we discover anything before the internet?), so I went to the library and checked it out. Several things were born out of this discovery: my love for Margaret Atwood; my love for the filmed novel; and my fascination with dystopian literature.
Forget romance and riches, ala Danielle Steele. I want to read about corrupt governments, unethical science experimentation, extreme civil rights violations, horrific plagues, and post apocalyptic societies. Margaret Atwood is a master of dystopian literature. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake and The Flood depict quite severe, futuristic dystopian landscapes, with complicated characters fighting for survival. If the dystopian filmed novel interest you, I recommend reading and watching The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, and Never Let Me Go,by Kazuo Ishiguro.
I've been thinking a lot this week about my taste in books, and what drives me to pick up one book over another, as books are ever present in my life. My interest in dystopian/post apocalyptic literature was likely influenced by my upbringing. I was raised with a religion that preached the end of days. Growing up, armageddon was right around the corner. I was assured I'd survive it if I was properly equipped with faith and perseverance, but the whole concept scared the hell out of me. I didn't believe that the end of days would be swift or painless, and I feared I needed more than the fruits of the spirit to see me through.
I am no longer waiting for or fearful of doom and gloom, but I still find solace in reading stories of doom and gloom. I find a sense of kinship with writers who, like me, imagine how things could go wrong, and what a dystopic future might look like. I find inspiration in characters who face hardship, battle unspeakable evils, and fight for a better future. I take mental notes on the smarts and tools they use to survive, you know, just in case.
Attempting to read a book beyond my years as a child, and later reading a book because I couldn't see a movie, reveals something else about me: I am stubbornly independent. If you tell me I can't do something, I'll find a way to do it. This trait likely made me a difficult child to raise (sorry Mom and Dad!), but it's also something that I like about myself. It's a trait that might serve me well one day, should I be wrong about the timing of the end of the world as we know it. Oh, no, not I. I will survive.
Why am I telling you all of this?
In my last post, I shared a few quotes from a book I'm currently reading, a book I heard mentioned in a podcast and rushed to the library to pick up because the word "dystopian" was used in its description. My ears perked up. What? A classic dystopian book I hadn't read yet?
I was dismayed, and a little embarrassed, when several commenters felt the need to rebuke my choice of reading material based on their strong feelings about the author of the book, an author whom I still know very little about (but thanks to my stubborn independence, I'm determined to learn more). I felt like a kid, sitting on a bean bag at the library, being scolded for the book in my hands.
It is fine if you don't like the books I read, or the food I eat, or the activities in which I choose to participate, or even the things I believe or don't believe. You are entitled to express your opinions. I love opinions! I want to hear what you have to say, which is why I allow comments on my blog.
But please know that opinions that sound like condemnations, assumptions about my beliefs, condescending name calling, and a general negative tone, makes me uncomfortable. For me, visiting a blog is like stepping inside someone's home. Take a look around, have a seat and let's chat if you have the time, but please have respect for my space. Negativity has a way of permeating a space and making it uninviting and unappealing to both the host and visitors.
Sadly, this whole experience made me realize a trait I possess that I don't like: I am sensitive. Aidan's egg, as seen above, speaks to me, one sad egg to another. Since 2006, I have written over 600 posts, and I've received over 12,000 comments. That's over one thousand dozen! I can probably fill a small egg container with the negative comments I've received over six years; they are a drop in the bucket, but they make a big splash, overpowering the thousands of nice and encouraging comments.
I won't censor comments (unless they're spam), and I also refuse to censor myself for fear that you might disagree with me. I now understand why some of my friends have turned off comments on their blogs, but I don't want to shut the door and close down the communication which comments facilitate. Instead, I'll work on toughening my shell. Maybe some more calcium in my diet?
Speaking of diet, let's talk about food. Food is usually a safe topic. Guacamole anyone?
I call it "everyday guacamole" because I make it five days a week for George's lunch, and sometimes on the weekend for family and friends. Below are recipes for a single serving and a batch large enough to share. It's quite simple and unadorned. My grandpa declared it the best guacamole he's ever had, but I happen to know he's biased towards me.
1/4 of a small red onion, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (about a quarter of a lemon)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
For a small crowd:
1 small red onion, minced
the juice of one lemon
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Mash all of the ingredients together to your preferred consistency. Chunky or smooth, it's up to you. Stick an avocado pit in the guacamole to prevent it from browning if you're not going to eat it right away.
I serve my guacamole with sliced jicama, or "not chips", as my friend Heather teases me. Enjoy!
Posted by Molly at 6:13 PM