I just got back from a pleasant visit at the Arlington Heights Library. We talked about the creative process, memories, immigration, and finally made our way to food, which was appropriate since I was reading from my book, If You Eat, You Never Die.
Why do Italians value food so highly? someone asked. As I’ve learned after many years of teaching, “their” answers are usually better than anything I can come up with, so I held back and let them bounce around ideas: to create community, to show love, to feel, to connect with sustenance in a direct and healthy way. I added a few things, but I forgot to mention that for many Italians (and this is not exclusive to us), cooking is a creative act: blending and sifting and stirring, hands touching canvases of many sorts. And then we get to eat the creation!
I’m left with a couple of other thoughts after reading. Always this: I feel when I read my work aloud that I’m reconnecting with old friends. I’m not psychotic, I’m not delusional in any way (though if I were, I might not quite know), but the illusion is still potent.
The other thought: what a spectacular library. When I was a kid, I never stepped foot in a library. Most of my reading was done on my front stoop, and this image evokes many pleasant memories. But when my oldest daughter was young, we lived within walking distance of a library. She’d reach up with her little hand, and we’d amble several blocks, pass the sucker store (7-11), and march to the library, taking in its sharp fragrances and long stacks. It was a place to escape but also find yourself.
I want to go back.