Friday, July 13, 2007

Love and value-added agricultural produce

Intoxicated with the madness,
I'm in love with my sadness.
Over the top, perhaps, but let's not pick on Billy. We've all felt that way sometimes. Even after the age of fourteen.
When I first heard Regina Spektor a week ago, it reminded me of the first time I heard Little Earthquakes. Though Boys for Pele remains my favorite Tori Amos album, there's nothing like that second time* I listened to Little Earthquakes and thought, "Music like this really exists!?" and then felt compelled to play it on loop several times
So I started thinking last week, Why don't I listen to Tori Amos anymore? I still like this style of music. I still like Tori. What compels me, when I get bored of my new CDs, to refrain from pulling out Under the Pink? For that matter, what keeps me from listening to Siamese Dream, the CD that used to accompany my fall drives in the country? I think it's because I've always been afraid that listening to that music would remind me of the time I first got into it, when I would play the CDs on loop, that I would start to feel not only nostalgia but whatever feelings I had at the time of my Smashing Pumpkins-and-Tori-and-Dave-Matthews phase. Memories from 1998 would bubble up to the surface after being buried for nine years.
When going through the time capsule that my bedroom has become, I started to re-listen to The Aeroplane Flies High and Adore. I found that listening to these classics did not remind me of my first "love" - a standoffish classmate who clearly had very little interest in me - as I feared it would. It did remind me of my first real love--
Billy Corgan.
Yes...Billy. Sigh...a whole line of less than threes...the poet, the musician, emo before people really used that word...the creator of the soundtrack of my teenage years...a man who, though he never met me, could somehow voice my true feelings. An online journallist (people didn't say "blog" then, either) and poet I loved, puce of, once wrote a poem called "Billy Corgan Understands" or something like that. Sometimes it really does seem like only Billy Corgan understands. I know people say all those mean things about you, Billy--that you're a control freak, that you were no fun to be in a band with - but I don't care. How could the man behind "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" have anything but a beautiful soul?
Sarcasm aside, I was ecstatic to find that I could listen to this music without any weird nostalgia, just newly discovered appreciation for one of my favorite bands. The Pumpkins were (are?) so good! I had to get over the loss of D'arcy awhile ago, and now James Iha, so will they really be the Pumpkins we all knew and loved? I don't know. I guess I will have to listen to their new CD.
* The first time I didn't really get it. I had to listen to it once, to make room in my head for the idea that piano music and good singing could be COOL and not just something to appreciate in an academic sense. I had to listen to it once and think, "She's talented, but this is weird," before I was truly altered - before I was writing the lyrics to "Silent All These Years", "Girl", and "Mother" in the margins of my Algebra and Physics notebooks, before I was combing through Napster for B-sides, before I was fervently seeking out Tori Amos sheet music in Sam Goody and pounding away at "Winter" and "Yes Anastasia" on the out-of-tune barely-used-since-the-sixth-grade-recital-fiasco piano.
- - - -
In other news, lately I have been experimenting with the world of value-added produce. This is the name we, in the Farmland Plan Writing World, give to pickles, jams, salsas, and other things that go into glass jars.

This is what jam looks like when it is cooking down, in case anyone cares.
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Why no! I do not know how to rotate this picture! [Or make it bigger!]
So a week ago, after a ridiculous amount of time and effort being spent on locating New Jersey grown sour cherries, and slightly less time spent translating a French e-mail, I made my cousin-once-removed Dominique's recipe for pickled sour cherries. I do not know what they are called in French--Cerises avec du Vinaigre? The recipe called for such things as white vinegar, brown sugar, and exactly THREE PINCHES of cinnamon, all boiled together and poured into glass jars of fresh cherries "un peu acide." (You can imagine the smell that filled the house during this process.) The recipe did not specify how long to process these jars (if at all) nor how many cherries to use, but gave specifics like "Place them in complete darkness for exactly two months" and "Attention! When you first open the jars, they will be very strong, just like a new pot of mustard!"
I imagine something like this does not get processed according to FDA standards - does something being bathed in boiling vinegar really need to be cooked some more? - but at the last minute, I did it a makeshift fashion.
Here they are being processed!
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This is not a proper canner.
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This is not a proper jar-grabber.
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Look at those nice finished pickle jars!
I felt so old-fashioned and hick-like, in a classy, French sort of way, that I had to take a picture of my pretty, sparkling jars. Oh yeah, because I had too many red currants and leftover vinegar solution that I couldn't justify throwing away, I also haphazardly threw together a batch of pickled "groseilles."
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Billy approves. <3>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it's been nearly a decade since I started writing serious poetry, listening to Tori Amos, and becoming a big fan of boys.

Profound, innit? Glad you made the step.

I vividly remember your Pumpkins posters and various, curious Tori-osities around your room. Yours was complete somehow, a small zeitgeist.

It's funny, but travel brings such thoughts up for me (maybe familiarity? association? hmmm...) I was thinking about Little Earthquakes and Pele, as well as the first Bauhaus collection I owned and the first Rosetta Stone album (literally, the rest are all crap). Let alone The Clash...
All those pop moments burned like brands into some synapse somewhere, stuff I've largely lost touch of at this point, but easily reclaimed. (And Hilary happens to be a Tori fan, which has made good listening.)