Wanting a soft-boiled egg in the middle of the night. This is my earliest memory. Crib sandwiched between kitchen and bedroom. A non-pantry. Bare bulb. Pull chain dangling. Snoopy stickers on the headboard. Stickers that I tried to scratch off and take with me when I moved to a big girl bed and my little sister got the crib. Waking. Darkness. Crying. A pull, a click. My mother’s face in the light. I see her face now, not then. The more I look, the fuzzier it gets. How old was I? Two? Three? My mother did not make me an egg. Not in those dark hours. Not when she was sleep-deprived with three young girls, probably pregnant with the fourth. I understand now, but this memory persists. I see that tiny room. Longing. Night. Crib. Bare bulb. Pull chain. Baby me. My mother. A soft-boiled egg. A wobbly desire for something warm and yellow.
Yellow ceramic bowl lifted down from the cabinet over the sink. Her mother’s initials carved in the terra cotta-colored bottom, JR. Big loops in the cursive J. The inside, smooth and white. Four daughters: a spatula, two egg beaters, the bowl to be licked. I like the beaters best, metal ice cream cones. Don’t jump on the floor! Don’t run! There’s a cake in the oven. My mom always wiggles the bundt pan, picks it up an inch and drops it on the counter to settle the contents evenly before putting it in the oven. We creep around as quietly and lightly as possible. Until we forget, run, jump. Forty-five minutes is hours long. Mother yells. There’s a switch, a wet dishrag. But also cake. Cake and frosting. Beaters and spatulas and bowls to be licked.
Writing is like making bone broth. I save up my scraps of ideas, my fragments and notes. I dump everything into the pot of a notebook, write furiously, bringing everything to a boil. I let words simmer. I add, I reduce. The basics are the same: bones, water, vinegar. The possibilities are endless: onion skins, carrot tops, nettles, seaweed, reishi, dandelion roots. Every batch a little different. I use what I have. Heat and time transform. I consume. I share. I am nourished. I start again.
Georgia Bellas is a writer/artist/filmmaker. She is passionate about puppets and plants and plays theremin in the hypnagogic band Sugar Whiskey. Her teddy bear is host of the podcast Mr. Bear’s Violet Hour and is on Twitter @MrBearStumpy