Dear Amy, I’m sorry I never published your poetry in our literary magazine because I said it was full of cliches. I was the gatekeeper and what I didn’t realize then was that life is full of cliches.
In my adult life, at my current job, I hold the title of ‘Editor.’ It’s not the first time I’ve had this title, but it is the first time anyone’s paid me for it. In fact, back when I was a senior in high school, I was editing the poetry section of our high school literary magazine, Vertigo. Our mascot was the ‘Ostrigo’ and our motto was, ‘We can’t fly, but we sure can kick.’ I still think it’s pretty clever. I had one enemy and it was the cliche. I wouldn’t say I was power-hungry, or relished the ability to turn down a submission, I just felt like the worst thing a poetry editor could do would be to let a cliche slip through her stack. Any statement that even remotely resembled a cliche was banned from my editorial desk (i.e. the white Ikea desk in my childhood room). I was rigid and I took my editorial responsibilities very seriously.
But people kept submitting them – the cliches. And, sometimes, I was writing them myself and trying, as hard as I could, to never let them see the light. You see, back then, I wanted to channel e.e. cummings and Emily Dickinson. I wanted to be the most original person there ever was. Except, there was one problem: I was still emulating these great voices. These people who themselves may have struggled with a cliche here and there.
I read a lot of food blogs. I mean A LOT. I devour them. And, often times, I’ll be thisclose to posting a recipe and I’ll spot a very similar one on another blog. Or, I’ll have written a full-length post, and read something that sounds like it came out of my head, only it was already written and published by someone else. I feel scooped in a weird way. But more than anything, I feel like if I still publish what I planned to publish, it won’t feel as authentic, or I’ll look like a poser, even though it was something I wrote. It was something I created. It was something I made, with my bare hands.
If I’ve learned anything about being a better person over the years, it’s that, it’s ok to be who you are. And if that means you want to throw in a gushy cliche, or you’re utterly inspired by something someone else has created, there’s no reason not to share it. And if you create something that someone else has too, well, then, maybe you guys should be friends?
White Peaches with Honey-Vanilla Mascarpone
*serves 2-4 (depending on how greedy you are!)
I’m obsessed with peaches. They are my favorite stone fruit, and as summer winds down, I rush to eat them in every form possible, whenever I can.
2 ripe white (or yellow) peaches
1/2 cup of mascarpone
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pits.
2. Preheat a grillpan over medium-high. When the grill is hot, place the peach halves skin-side up on the grill. Do not move them for about a minute or two (until they develop char marks), then flip and cook for another minute or so.
3. Combine the mascarpone, honey and vanilla in a medium bowl and gently whisk to mix. Don’t worry if it gets a little chunky; once the whipped mascarpone makes contact with the hot peaches, it will start to melt quickly.
4. When the peaches are done, place them on a plate, with the flat part facing up. Top each half with a scoop of mascarpone, and a decorative sprig of rosemary. Serve warm.
Musical Pairings: Françoise Hardy – The Yeh Yeh Girl From Paris + White Peaches with Honey-Vanilla Mascarpone
There’s more on the Turntable.