This article is about Jenny Lawson and her new memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. She’s going to sign it at 7pm at Barnes & Noble. Tonight is when she’ll do this.
But this part of the article is not about that at all:
My mother apparently didn’t know the difference between a banana and a wooden spoon. They were interchangeable, two words for the same thing. As far as she was concerned, they both grew warm and sweet somewhere with giant spiders in a Harry Belafonte song. Peel it back and it’s something fleshy and organic. I’d like to imagine she was really drawn to the dark lines in the wood grain of those spoons. They do rather look like drips of syrup mixed in. If you look at it alone, long enough – with the big eyes – you could imagine it tasting like gingerbread. You might want to taste that. Lick it. Put it in a blender. Mix up the splinters with milk and strawberries and ice.
And now it’s in a glass. And now the glass is on the table and I’m drinking it and it doesn’t taste anything like gingerbread. Not at all. The sharp brown splinters look like baby sharks.
Mama, a wooden spoon is not a banana. Mama, don’t put wooden spoons in the blender. It’s not the same.
It’s fiber, she says.
No, Mama, it’s not.
This is a true story.
If I were to write a book, this True Story would go in the section about the woman who gave birth to me and told me there were dead spiders in her coffee – hollow ones, spiders made out of shells, looklook! There weren’t.
The woman who sat in the unfinished side of our basement at the ironing board for hours and used it like an office. The ironing board was her desk. And she would chain smoke. It was her business. She was in the business of always sitting in the darkest corners with big eyes. Sometimes she made watercolors of plants down there. They were really good.
If I had a question about life or dinner, I would descend. Step over the green hose pumping water into the drain in the floor. The mix of rust and gray lint from the dryer in orange puddles around it – thick, the vegetable soup from a can. Our dirty clothes in piles on the concrete. Lights. Darks. Colors. We had crickets that jumped higher than I was tall. Bare feet over all this. And her in the corner with the ironing board – giant silver-gray ironing board like a trained seal under her arms. She was never ironing. Hi, Mama. We lived in a nice house in the suburbs.
I have this memory a thousand times over. In all seasons. And I know because sometimes I have this memory and I see the little marshmallow hills of snow piled in that tiny basement window – two-paned, level with the earth, our dog would look in at her. Sometimes I can see my bare legs in the memory, and it’s hot and I haven’t started shaving them yet. There are a lot more crickets in our basement when it’s hot.
Tell me what to do, Mama.
Don’t touch the stove, Punkin’.
I know, Mama.
This is not a good article, and I am not good journalist, but surely this is all a True Story.
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