Friday, April 29, 2011

Books and Burritos

When I pulled the Story Every Day project out of hiatus last month I decided I'd keep it going until Story #200 and then I'd be done with it. To hell with flash fiction! Or at least, to hell with writing it every day. I'm still enjoying the project--I took particular pleasure in writing today's, #187: Heppelwhite, and have enjoyed writing all the entries, in that they've each provided a low-stakes way to experiment with techniques and voices and structures I wouldn't want to inflict on a submissions reader--but am now thinking about other trajectories I can aim the blog along. I've considered going visual, or aural, but one idea that I particularly favor is Books and Burritos, which would pair books with burritos made just for them! The best part of this project, of course, would be the excuse to invent and eat some delicious damn burritos. The worst part would be that, so far, every burrito I start to invent involves unsavory or sketchy ingredients.

Here's an example. We'll call this Books and Burritos #1: Terese Svoboda's Pirate Talk or Mermalade / The Sea-Soaked Fever Dream

I actually read this book a few months ago, but the memory of its weirdness has stuck with me. The book is all dialogue, no extraneous narration, fast running and quick dodging, blood and false eyes, starvation, desperation, all of it bleak but in the bouncy way, the ha ha ha way, and dream-like, realist but in the way of just-waking, almost-sleeping. To prepare the appropriate burrito, the Sea-Soaked Fever Dream, you'll need to leave a bottle of strong spiced rum uncapped outside in the rain, so that it dilutes and turns bitter and gritty with incidental dirt. Soak shrimp in this rum for a while, then grill. Pack the prepared shrimp into a tortilla along with some kale, and spritz with lime to stave off scurvy.

See, that just sounds disgusting.

Books and Burritos #2: David Vann's Legend of a Suicide / The Starving Camper

Charter a propeller plane to Alaska, then set up camp with your weird and depressed father. While he bemoans his estrangement from women and makes a mess of the cabin you'll share for the next several months, go to the closest stream and find fish, then clean them and hide them from birds that might carry them away. Pack fish pieces into flour tortillas, then cover with reduced cream-of-mushroom soup and canned tomatoes, patted dry.

That one is like...slightly more appetizing.

Books and Burritos #3: Ricardo Nuila's "Dog Bites" from McSweeney's 36 / The Rambling Lecturer

Long-simmer some pork in a wide pan. Put in some butter, let it melt and sink in. While your wise but rambling father tells you about the world, dice a block of the kind of cheese you'd take on a long car ride, then layer it and fresh peppers into a grilled corn tortilla. Before you can go into one of your uncommunicative spells, spoon the pork into the tortillas and roll up.

There we go!

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