"I look for magic in the ordinary and ordinary in the magic." So says my artistic statement. And I base my work life around that. Whether I'm adapting La Cenerentola (Rossini's opera about Cinderella) or writing about teens during the Vietnam War - that statement resonates through my work. And even more through my daily life. I have a decade birthday coming up. I've always been good with "decade birthdays" but this one has thrown me. There's more vulnerability, less taking anything for granted and many glimpses back to understand now.
Somewhere in the time-machine meanderings of my mind, I came upon these s'mores cake pops And decided they needed to come to roost on my dining room table. Never mind that there is no cake in them. Never mind that it's been a long time since I embraced s'mores. Never mind that no one at my dining table is younger than 22, this is what I would serve. The cannoli would wait. Although this is a rare occurrence, I must concede that "something cute just struck my fancy." So out of character for me - is this what the new decade-birthday is doing to me? Searching for "cute?"
I am looking back. I am wondering to trust memory. When I write for young people - am I dipping into what I remember as a child? What I wish I remember? Am I writing what I think is their world - but viewed through mine?
Last week I commented on a blog - a blog that showed a high school commencement and the sweetness therein. The blogger replied with happiness and ...
"... sometimes I wish I could go back to shoes that light up and Winnie-the-Pooh sneakers."
Sometimes I wish that, too. But usually - I don't. Twenty years of Halloweens, road trips and cuddling with books are little heartbeats that still make me skip and still make me ache. There is the utter sweetness of being and your second chance at glimpsing through the eyes of a child. Because when you were a child and glimpsing - it wasn't easy. And there are the playground lessons. Lesson you cannot protect them from. Lessons that you cannot kiss and put a band-aid on. Lessons you thought you let go of when you were finished with them. Lessons that hurt far more than when you were doing battle. No, I won't go back. I'll stay here and marvel at how far we've come.
I saw these on Pinterest and followed it to The Family Kitchen blog. They suited my mindset. I may have cynicism furrowed on my brows but I still must count each color in the rainbow - not to verify it - but to hold my gaze.
Buy marshmallows, heavy cream, your favorite chocolate bits and graham crackers. Target has the lollipop sticks. Put about 8 graham crackers in a food processor and pulse till you have crumbs. (Yes, you may buy the already crumbled ones.) Put crumbs in shallow dish. Mix 1/2 cup heavy cream with 2 cups of chocolate on top of a gently simmering double boiler. As cream simmers and chocolate starts to melt, remove from heat and stir till smooth. Put lollipop stick in marshmallow, dip in chocolate mixture and then dip in graham cracker crumbs. Put on baking ban or parchment paper to set.
You may want to halve the mixture. This may not be Italian but you do start to feel like you're feeding Sicily. This makes at least 60 - and more chocolate leftover for dipping strawberries. And even more chocolate leftover to send home with someone skinnier than you.
Nobody passed the dining room table without grabbing one. And we're talking about people with a few more decades on those 20-somethings. I even found myself saying,
"Aren't they cute?"
While wondering who I was. But you know - they are so ordinary and so magical. They are simple + childhood.
"When I grow up, I want to be a little boy." - Joseph Heller.
Well, I don't want to be a little girl. I don't even want to go back to "if I knew then what I know now." Really, how awkward would that be?
I did not grow up with "Drama Queen," "Daddy's Little Princess" or "Pretty in Pink" bandied about so I cannot explain what I needed to make this drink.
But it is so pretty in pink, isn't it? It came my way via The Inventive Vegetarian who got it from Martha Stewart. It's rhubarb iced tea. Except it has no tea. (Kind of like my cake pops with no cake.)
It's rhubarb, water and sugar.
8 stalks rhubarb
8 cups of water
1/3 cup of sugar
Cut your clean rhubarb stalks into 3 inch pieces (make sure you discard poisonous leaves!). Simmer in 8 cups of water for one hour. Strain liquid. Add sugar - stir till dissolved. Cool. Fill glass with ice and pour "tea" into it. Garnish with mint leaf and serve. I would have added some strawberries - but I used them all dipping them into the extra chocolate.
"One day you will be old enough to read Fairy tales again." - C.S. Lewis
And so I am. And so I do. These are the perfect accompaniments to fairy tales. They are sweetness and light to defend yourself against the sometimes dark and scary places fairy tales can inhabit. I don't believe in sugar-coating fairy tales. But once in a while, I like to sugar-coat my life. Have I finally found balance?
When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six and I'm as clever as clever
So I think I'll be six now and forever.
- A.A. Milne
The first poem I fell in love with. I think I was more than six. But I'm not anymore. I'm not six yet. So don't wish me a happy birthday!