portion of the artwork for Mary Kane's stories

Writing Class
Mary Kane

My aunt Arlene likes to stand in the kitchen, at the counter, cracking eggs into a mixing bowl. If I ask her what she’s up to, she says she’s writing. I believe her, though it is hard to say or see exactly how that works, mechanically speaking. One day recently, she said I probably wanted to know what eggs had to do with writing, and though I didn’t really require an explanation, since I trust her, she told me anyway. She said she likes to read a lot and that every writer she reads get compressed like a language egg in the ear inside her mind, and when she wants to write, she has to crack all the eggs and mix them together so that her words, the ones forming in her mind, won’t get drowned out by any one writer’s compressed presence. I pointed out that the eggs she was cracking weren’t made of language and weren’t in her head, and she said she was aware of that but it did the trick, and whatever did the trick is her motto. But then, because she doesn’t like to waste, she ends up making a lot of omelets, and she then has to find people to feed the omelets to, which she does by walking door to door in the neighborhood and delivering omelets to anyone who wants one. That makes for a good feeling of neighborliness in the neighborhood and is also sort of time consuming, and I said I thought it probably detracts from her writing but she said no, she is writing then too, all the egg activities are part of the writing, even cleaning the plates when the neighbors return them, for she always delivers the omelets on china plates because if you have good dishes, why not use them. I said it was interesting the way a person could be writing all the time without anyone knowing it, and she said that was true and too many people live under the misconception that to be writing means you are sitting at a desk or with a laptop on your lap or are somewhere you can’t identify, in bed, dying, your fingers wrapped around a pencil that is getting smaller and smaller, with another one you misplaced in your bed somewhere, and an old notebook, while men in greatcoats and uncomfortable hats knock on your skull from the inside trying to get written into your story, but she was thinking of teaching a writing class that would involve a lot of reading aloud and omelet preparation and dish washing and definitely lots of walks. Then, at the end of the course, the writers could all get together, and they would each read their stories aloud while the others in the group lay on benches wrapped up in parkas and watched winter clouds scud across blue sky if the day were windy enough, or they might even nap, allowing each story to waft in through their sleeping ears gently like lake water lapping with low sounds by some shore someplace, and then she said that’s exactly what she was talking about with the eggs, that last little bit, a bit of compressed language egg that hadn’t blended completely enough, and did I think people would like to take the class.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 57 | Spring/Summer 2021