Sunday, September 13, 2009

Twitter, Impressionism, and My Mind's Nose

@fourchickens Pressure cooker growing up in AR was always turnips and greens. I hear that jiggle sound, I smell greens in mind's nose.

Something about the 140 character limit on Twitter posts (like the one I sent above to @fourchickens) aligns well with the impressionistic modality of sense memories.

They, too, are fleeting and concentrated.  The actual smell of turnip greens (which I love) is not nearly as evocative as reading a brief tweet from @shibaguyz about their pressure cooker.  Which leads to calling up the sound in my mind's ear.  Which leads to a scene in my mind's eye. Which leads to the smell in my mind's nose.  Which is inseparable from the feel of steam on my mind's skin as I recall the countless times I stood just behind my mother holding vigil over a live pressure cooker.

And today: @bonnevivante posted an ode to pie crusts made with lard from an older NYT piece.  I read the word "lard" and my mind's tongue tasted and felt Mamaw's fried pies, and my fingers knew just how they had rested in my hand as a child, the grease and flour dust on my palm, wiped surreptitiously on my pants leg, when I knew I shouldn't.

Ohhhhh, is that recipe in the family cookbook, I wonder?  I haven't thought of those pies in years...the extra ones on a plate, tucked in between the Louisiana Hot Sauce bottle and salt and pepper shakers under a square cloth on the middle of the kitchen table...usually filled with the apples or peaches she had dried, but sometimes with chocolate...always gone before the next meal...

I think about what will linger about my life today.  When I'm old, what will I smell or read that will call up "Seattle, late summer 2009" and cause me to stop what I'm doing, throw my head back, and close my eyes?

What impression, what smell will bring me back to this day?  What will lead me to love the moment doubly--the then and the memory of then?

1 comment:

Jo Ward said...

Ah, I remember them well.....turnip greens and Mamaw's fried pies! I, too, loved the chocolate ones best. Jen, your writing is superb. Some of your dad's printer's ink is in your blood.