Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keep the pilot light burning

I spent the summer of 2001 watching two little boys during the day and waiting tables in a 50's era diner in the evening. It was the completion of my first year of college, though I was already in my mid twenties, and I had reached a point of utter confusion--the English Composition class I was required to take made me start writing again. My pilot light was lit. My journals were uncovered. My passion was stoked.

That was the first time I considered writing a memoir about my family. While the boys played King of the Suburban Backyard I scribbled questions and anecdotes across pages of flimsy spiral notebooks. I had no starting point, no frame of reference and no story, but I wrote and wrote.

For the entire I summer I questioned my motives. I had started out studying interior design and I loved it completely. I relished architecture and art history. I fell in love with space and light. But still, writing was what made me burn.

Before the fall semester commenced I had changed my area of focus.

I've never been a practical girl, I believe all too much in the finite nature of life and the frailty of dreams. Forget fortune. Forget fame. It's the ticking that keeps me going, the beat and hum of one word following another.


In the summer of 2001 the boys had a visit from their Florida grandfather. He was taken with notion of my vegetarianism and raved about a black bean taco recipe his wife liked to make. A week after he returned home he sent the following recipe. I've used it many, many times.

Black Bean & Veggie Tacos

Taco Shells (Sprouted Wheat if available)
2 T  Olive Oil
2 T  Fresh Lime Juice
1 t   Ground Cumin
1 t   Minced Garlic
1 t   Ground Red Pepper

1 Can (16 oz) Black Beans
1 Can (7oz) Whole Kernel Corn, Drained
1/2 C Coursely Chopped Carrots
1/2 C Diced Celery
1/3 C Diced Red Onion

Part 2

2 C Shredded Lettuce
1/4 C Sour Cream
4 oz Shredded Cheddar

Prepare taco shells. Whisk together first five ingredients. Add next 5 ingredients. Stir to mix & coat. Layer lettuce, cheese, Viggie mix & sour cream on hot taco shells.


  1. ...writing was what made me burn.
    I love that. And those tacos...yum. They'll be an excellent detour from our regular taco dish :)

  2. You seem like a real take the next step I suspect it won't be long before you eschew cans ( except for those dash it all we need it right now emergencies) and soak beans overnight to cook in the morning yourself. Your body doesn't need what is put the cans...and you wouldn't want it leaching into your stories...