Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making Connections

by Elizabeth

I'm writing this over the remnants of my lunch, a cheap and tasty first foray into Fuzzy's Tacos, a new-to-my-area, new-to-me, yet apparently passionately beloved fast food on real plates kind of joint. Well, sort of real: My veggie and fish tacos were served on heavy stoneware, the potatoes stuffed into the remaining space, but the black beans came on the side in a Styrofoam bowl. Styrofoam cup, too, but metal flatware. Light, to be sure, but mined from the earth.

Sitting here alone, it occurs to me that some might suspect me of being a reviewer. I think my green school-style notebook should give me away as just another hungry diner, but still: I'm eating, glancing around, furiously scribbling what might be notes about the quality of the lettuce. My face surely betrayed curiosity as I tried to determine what the heck they put in those black beans to make them so distinctively delicious. I mean, I guess I could be a reviewer. But I'm not.

Or a travel writer! The Writer's Guild of Texas hosted the fascinating Kay Winzenried a few weeks ago, and as I love to travel, she held me rapt as she got down and dirty with some facts. She even talked money in concrete, non-euphemistic terms. Anyone involved in the early stages of a writing career will likely appreciate how rare hard facts about money are. So very refreshing.

So that got me thinking about travel writers in fiction, bringing me fast to the protagonist in The Accidental Tourist, one of my favorite books by one of my favorite writers. (If you've somehow missed Anne Tyler, many delightful hours of reading await you.) Got me thinking of the movie adaptation, too, and how long Bill Pullman's been around. Reminded me he played the romantic lead opposite Ellen DeGeneres back in the day. My how times change: Now she's the real life romantic lead to Portia Di Rossi, whom I associate most with Ally McBeal, who is now married to Han Solo! Han, for whom I stood in the first movie line I'd ever seen one hot summer day when I was ten years old. I don't think I knew why I was forced to wait in the sun along with two sisters and my brother, and I'm pretty sure I still didn't after the movie was over and the station wagon picked us all up. (My husband, quite possibly in the same theater that day, recognized immediately that Star Wars was a game changer. Meh. I still don't really get it.) To me, Harrison Ford is far more appealing in the remake of Sabrina., which I like better than the original, which is a risky thing to admit, like it means I'm dissing Audrey Hepburn. But I'm not; she was delightful in Roman Holiday--O! Italy! Now there's a place I'd love to go!

And so we find ourselves back to travel. You can ask Joan; it almost always comes back to travel with me. That, or food. Usually both.

All this to say, this is a very brief example of how my brain hops. It took me maybe ten minutes to scribble this, probably ten seconds to think it. That's the relentless hum in my mind, and though it can be exhausting at times--and by the way, Mr. Elizabeth, that's one reason that NO, I don't remember your mentioning in passing once three weeks ago that you wouldn't need lunch on Thursday. Hello? Did you not catch that my mind was a bit occupied?--I'm grateful for it. I'm pretty sure my thoughts, my connections, are what make me a writer as much as my voice. Certainly, without my leapfrog brain, I'd never have gone from a cabin in Northern Virginia to the choppy waters of a murderous sea during World War II, the locales that begin and end the novel I'm querying.

Choppy waters--I did mention one of my tacos was tempura fish, didn't I? Dang it was good. Those beans, too. Bet they have some amazing cannelini beans in Italy. And what a great place that would be to knock off all my Christmas shopping! Which reminds me, I need to clear out the garage and find a better home for the decorations I picked up at a yard sale last spring.

And so it goes.


  1. I'm salivating over those tacos and black beans while remembering my favorite scenes in the Accidental Tourist(in the movie as well as the book)and in the remake of Sabrina(among my favorite movies); reliving the oh so choppy trip on the Gulf of Bothnia going from Finland to Sweden; thinking about my favorite places in Rome and my upcoming trip back there and how you'd really have to search for bargain shopping in Italy. Love the way you showed how your brain works. Now mine is telling me to slow down and focus.

  2. Love Fuzzy's! And my brain is extra hoppy, too. :)


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