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Friday, 13 August 2010

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope

The world is harder to women than to men; a woman loses much by the chance of adverse circumstances, a man only loses by his own misconduct.

"Then Have Much Breakfast," (or: Bram Stoker's Hungry)

I've been feeding on Vampire literature these days, sucking up as much information as I can before heading off to a city one mile closer to the sun than the rest of the country--rough terrain for the undead.  I was made particularly happy as I began to read Stoker's novel, to discover that his characters like to eat just as much as I do; they eat constantly, with relish, and with great detail.  When Jonathan Harker's diary entries begin, he remarks several times that he must get the recipes for the strange and delicious meals he encounters on his way to Transylvania, in order that Mina may recreate them for him when they are married.  Diaries and recipes--records used to clarify history, formulas for memory--begin a novel wherein the marking of time is essential for the survival of its characters, as is the food humans and vampires alike seek--different in type but no different in necessity.  I, too, consume both time and food, steadily tracking the days in meals, and learning about a not so distant past, where The New Woman and the Victorian ideal would meet in the character of Mina.  I'm a little like a Vampire, drinking in the life of another woman, creating her as my own, undead in her own way, an embodiment of life.
There is such passion in consumption--eating, drinking, methodically recording life's daily events, collecting memories and recipes.  And all these passions result in creation--of a meal, a new being, a novel, a character.
I'm cooking now, in more ways than one, and I cannot wait to set the table . . .