Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Writing Challenge 2 Response

I know, I know, it's been almost a month.  I also know that I'm still in chapter 6, which for the record is the second longest chapter in my book.  Like, almost a page of outlining long.  A lot happens.  There's even a river.  And boots.  I haven't finished chapter 6 yet.  I don't really have a good reason, I just haven't felt it.  But, I'm putting myself back to work.  My original goal was to finish the book over the summer break.  I don't think that's gonna happen.  But we'll see.
As for my response to writing challenge 2, here we go.

Writing Challenge 2:
Describe an object you use in your daily life that connects you to the generations before you.

                Slowly I take the mixer from the cabinet.  It is green, the green of a mod sixties kitchen, the green of a minidress with long sleeves, worn by a girl with a bouffant and kohl eyeliner.  The mixer is in a matching green box, made of the same hard plastic as the mixer itself.  A compartment within the box holds the mixer blades and I settle the box on the counter before pulling the blades from their home.  I pop them into the mixer body and plug the mixer in.  I pour the ingredients into a large, white plastic bowl and turn the mixer on.  The blades whir and spin, whipping the flour and egg together. 
                Fifty years ago another brunette woman had stood at a counter mixing flour and eggs.  She wore a knee-length dress, seamed stockings, and nude heels.  Her hair was up in a beehive and white horn-rimmed glasses were perched on her nose.  She had an apron tied over her dress.  A dusting of flour covered the apron, and a small spot of white perched on the end of her nose.  She tapped her foot to music coming from a radio in the living room where her young daughter was playing.  The windows were open in the New York summer heat, and through them she could hear neighbors’ conversations in the other apartments in the building.  She poured in the sugar and cocoa and turned the mixer speed up higher. 
                Thirty years later, her daughter stood at her own kitchen counter.  By now she was a grown woman, her dark brown hair tied up in a ponytail.  She too had the windows open, sweating in the heat of the kitchen.  She cracked two eggs into a bowl of cake mix and put the mixer blades in.  She flipped the switch on the top of the green mixer body and wiped her forehead.  A smear of flour blossomed in the wake of her hand.  Her daughter sat on the table top, licking a lollipop, while her mother made a birthday cake.  The girl swung her legs under the table, heels lightly hitting the stool beneath.  The woman turned the mixer off and set it down, then popped one of the blades from the mixer and handed it to her daughter.  The little girl eagerly started licking the batter away. 
                Fifteen years later that little girl stood at her own counter, mixing a batter from scratch.  I mixed cocoa powder and vanilla extract into my batter, thinking of the years this mixer had seen.  It had been my grandmother’s first, and she had used it often, beaten eggs with it, mixed birthday cakes, and whipped up muffins to comfort neighbors who’d lost a loved one.  When she died it passed on to my mother, who’d spent years baking from a box to make cookies for bake sales, birthday cakes, muffins for breakfast before school.  She baked brownies for girl scout parties.  When I left for college the mixer passed to me.  Every time I use it, I picture the warm New York evenings my grandmother spent baking with the electric green mixer in her hands.  I remember the snow days spent in our kitchen with my mother, baking cookies or brownies and licking the mixer blades.  I bake often, and the mixer connects me to not only my mother and grandmother but to the generations of bakers who have come before me, to the women who have used the same recipes all across the country.  

Stay Tuned.

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