Protest Pie

by jkatejohnston

10 September 2015

Dear Max,

I went through my caviar mystery book yesterday, not exactly reading it, but making a list of scenes and trying to figure out what order they might go in. I have two versions going. One’s about a hundred pages. The other is about thirty. They overlap a lot. And I’ve written a whole stretch that’s completely out of order. That is, why do these women keep talking (and talking) about something that hasn’t happened yet?

So, it’s a big fat mess (actually a pathetic skinny mess), and I’ve begun to feel that I may be writing the wrong thing and possibly living the wrong life, at least the wrong writing life.

But I still like working on it. Like isn’t exactly the word, but it takes up my attention in the way that I think writing should. And what do I have to lose by going on?

My diary, that’s what. It’s hard to do both whole-heartedly. All I have are a few notes:

Enzo: “How do you want your bed? Regular, Nice, or Hotel Style?”

Me: “What’s Hotel Style?”

Enzo: “Like on an expensive cruise.”

Me: “Hotel Style.”

This turned out to be: bed roughly made, sheets turned down, Altoids on the pillows.


“I wonder if anyone’s ever mooned Artemis.”


“I’ve got a good idea that actually could end up pretty badly.” I didn’t make a note of what the idea was. It seemed easy to remember at the time, and now it’s gone.


“Want to see my idea of a poor person?” He’s shirtless in the warm night. He sucks in his stomach and flexes his neck to show ribs and tendons. I make a mental note to teach him about hunger.


On Sunday, Enzo and I went to the pool at three and stayed until about five. By the end, most of the pool was in shadow. There was only one other family there. It was warm with slanting yellow light. The white wash-out of full summer seemed behind us. We got a chill in the water and then lay on the still-hot pavement and warmed our bones. I felt fall coming.

Not so fast. Teresa told me it’s supposed to be a hundred and nine degrees tomorrow. Today, a hundred and six.

In protest, I have made a pumpkin pie.