One of the things I intend to do in this letter is share a recipe for and photo of something delicious I have made recently. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of a recent treat that was quite excellent, but I would like to comment this incredible recipe to you, for a Pink Champagne and Strawberry Cake, from a lovely local blog called Raspberri Cupcake. I have made the cake several times, sometimes with the champagne buttercream frosting, which is a bit tricky, and sometimes without it. Honestly, it works very well with just plain, ol' fashioned cream. But unlike other strawberry shortcake-type recipes, the strawberries are baked directly into the cake, so it's deliciously moist and strawberry-y. It's a wonderful recipe and I highly, highly recommend it.
There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves -- so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight and for which to be thankful.
-L.. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island
One of my recent reading interests has been books about mountain climbing. A peculiar interest, perhaps, from someone no more likely to climb a mountain than to visit the moon or win the nobel prize for physics, but I found the stories of men and women taking incredible risks for something so fleeting to be inherently intriguing. But the best book I read among the many was a wonderful short work of non-fiction by Litsa Dremousis called Altitude Sickness, about her close friend and his death while climbing on Mt Rainier.
There were two things I especially loved about it: first, her prose is just amazing and beautiful and honest. Take this passage:
Sometimes it's easier for me to be angry at Neal than it is to miss him.
After he died with his food in my refrigerator and his things scattered throughout my home, I purchased an antique trunk in which I store what are now artifacts: his clothes, his tools, one of his backpacks, and the gifts and cards he gave me throughout the years.
In the early months, I scoured my condo for items related to Neal, despite the agony I incurred when I found them. Handmade soap from Zanzibar, books from New York, the vintage garnet ring for my 40th birthday: all made him feel near, as if he were on another transglobal jaunt and would return soon.
I experienced a sickening thus when I realized I'd found the last piece: that his object, like his life, were finite.
I dream of writing like that.
The other thing I love about this book is its depiction of an incredibly close but platonic relationship between a man and a woman. As someone whose most important relationship is with a man I love in an entirely non-romantic way, it was special to see that kind of closeness represented in prose, despite its awful ending.
Its a wonderful book and I can't implore you enough to read it.
So that's the end of my very first letter. I hope you have enjoyed it. I will write again soon.