Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cake. Who has it? Who doesn't have it? Eglantine, apparently, has it. I, however, do not.

Some thoughts on cake from the novel I am currently working on (a sequel to Undine and Breathe). It's a new character, Phoenix. He has cake.

He had looked through the window one cool December morning when he’d first arrived in this town. Her open face had conjured a memory of another face: some shining jolly girl from his childhood, a babysitter perhaps, or a friend of his sister’s. But it was her siren-song counter display that had drawn him in. She was a maker of cakes, and looking at her wares, he had found he had a sudden, gnawing hunger, a greed for cake. Not any old cake. Not counterfeit cake, not simple facsimilies of better, prior cake. Not the kind of cake you can buy in any cafĂ©, in any town, or make from any cookbook. He was hungry for these cakes; dense and magical, they seemed to exist in this time, in this place, for him.

Phoenix, by the way, is not who he seems.

My daughter Frederique wants cake. She is turning three in April and her demands for cake are many and varied. She wants a pink cake, a princess cake, a flower cake, a horsey cake. Cake is not my specialty. But it seems it's part of the contract, so Frederique will have her cake. With three candles. And she will blow them out, with some help. Her blows are still like long F sounds, F for Frederique, like she is stuttering on the first consonant of her own name. Her father is teaching her to blow in vowels, a round o, a wide e.

Who is Eglantine? I dream of Eglantine, I dream of cake.

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