21 March 1995

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

Princess is very tired.

I just got home from the writing class, and I feel a little sick, partly because the person who brought snacks tonight brought Ding-dongs and Coke, god bless her heart, and partly because that class always makes me a little sick.

It was oral report night. The teacher assigns us to do oral reports on each other. So this woman was going on and on about another woman’s stories: “The mother figure in so-and-so’s work is often seen stirring a pot of boiling liquid, so there’s that bubbling, boiling almost volcanic action. We see the boiling image once with potatoes and in another story with rutabagas, and in fact the mothers in these stories are very much like vegetables—passive, inert, and they seem to be especially associated with root vegetables and their connotation of earth, darkness and suffocation.”

“Parsnips!” I felt like shouting, and the names of root vegetables began shooting around in my mind:  yams, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes!

I called Teresa and told her all about it, and every time a new root vegetable would come into my mind, I would yell Jicama! or Salsify! I’m not sure that Jicama is a root actually.  Kohlrabi is, I think.  Carrots are.  You see, it’s all I can think about now, and as a result, I forgot my purse at school.

“I think there’s something wrong with me.  I’m cleaning the phone.”[1]

[1] Note added 2013—I just told Teresa that she was cleaning in my diary, getting ready for me to move in. She said, “My apartment uncleaned would have been the cleanest place you ever lived.”