Last night I went to a reading by the Oak Lake Writers’ Society with Allison and a couple other people from work. The reading (and potluck) is the culmination of a Native American writers’ retreat, led by one of the professors at SDSU. It was rather eye-opening. I fancy myself a writer, although I haven’t written a poem in years, and I haven’t been published (not counting my blogs) since college. I’m too much a of a coward to read my own work in public–I remember being in high school, and for senior English, we had a choice of extra credit projects–I chose to write a short continuation of The Catcher in the Rye and because I am horribly fearful every time I have to speak in public (it still amazes me that I received a B in Oral Communication during college), I had my friend Amy read it to the class, while I buried my head down on my desk. All that aside, it was really interesting hearing the various short stories and poems. A few focused on warm memories of grandparents, which made me miss my own grandparents a lot. What was most surprising to me (and it probably shouldn’t be) was the subtle and not so subtle anger that simmers among some of the writers. My guess is that because this was one of the last areas of the country to be settled (by whites, that is), the wounds are a lot fresher in the minds of Native Americans here. There is also a huge amount of distrust/prejudice against Native Americans out here, something that baffles me–Maybe back East, it’s because we’ve had a lot more time to heal. It’s only been about 120 years since Wounded Knee, and about 125 since the Battle of the Little Bighorn (and while I have an ancestor who fought with Custer, I’m more inclined to be sympathetic to the Native Americans than my g-g-great uncle). I remember discussing some of this the last time I visited with my grandfather (his great-uncle is the ancestor whose name is on the US monument there), and he pointed out that it’s difficult to be nice to the men whose land you’ve stolen. My sister and I grew up around people who wore any Native blood their family trees contained with pride. Most likely, we’ve got Native blood somewhere in our family as well…We come from a long line of old pioneers, and there’s always been that speculation. Not that it matters. People are people, and we all bleed red.
And now that I’ve gone all maudlin, I should remember that this is a food blog, after all, and there was a potluck dinner before the reading. The food was delicious, and there was a LOT of it. I didn’t even sample a quarter of what was there.
I was happy I got a good crunchy bit of this pasta. I was figuring this was just some regular baked penne–But it turned out to have some kick to it–Whoever made it I’m guessing used an arribiatta sauce. It was delicious. Someone also made a Caprese salad, but served on garlic toast:
The guy in line in front of me cut a piece in half, so I took the other half. The mozzarella was drizzled in balsamic vinegar, which gave it a nice sweetness. And because it’s been a really long time since I’ve had actual fried chicken, I took a piece of that too:
After the reading was done, we stepped outside to a beautiful sky:
The writers’ retreat is held next to a lake, although we would’ve had to go hiking to get to the lake, and I wasn’t about to push my way through brush in my work clothes. I would’ve loved to have spent a little more time walking around the retreat area, just photographing the landscape. I settled for more sky instead:
I haven’t been doing much in the way of cooking lately. I don’t really even recall the last meal I actually made this week…I think we’ve been living off leftovers and last night Jay & the bambino made use of a frozen pizza. I need to get back into cooking at home, because I’ve noticed some of my pants fitting slightly more snugly than I would care for! So it’s back on the wagon this weekend. I’ve already got my grocery list in the works!