Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Still Life: Garbage

We compost garbage. "Garbage" meaning "food waste." Rather than wasting, J. and I save, yet if we accumulate garbage in a container in the kitchen before putting it on the compost pile, it attracts ants, fruit flies, etc.--no mouse in the kitchen yet--and gives off a ripe-rotten odor even when covered. J. has solved the problem. Following his lead, I freeze garbage! The peels, stems, seeds, cores, and pith pile up, but naturally do not overflow. This morning the frozen pile made a zany still life, but I won't call it "still." Frozen, on the table, in 95 degree heat, the little garbage tower gave off a frosty cloud that my camera couldn't catch. A pleasure!

I rapped the container against the hard black bin, and the garbage slid out; the still-frozen tomato-peel 'torta' split off from the banana peels and tough eggplant ends. (The tomato meat had gone into a sauce.) By now wasps, fruit flies--and who knows what else--and the action of a layer of soil are bringing the mess back to life.

What does all this have to do with my August writer's retreat at home? Let me think. Although I wrote an essay, roughed out some poems and buffed up others, read till my eyes crossed, I was forced to listen to plenty of rubbish during 8/2010. Maybe some of it will find its way into stories. I'll trust to time and the vagaries of memory to transform some of the truly worthless parts into material--comedy, I hope. If you were here with me, dear Bloggerones, I might tell you about it. How was your August? And how are things on September first?


  1. Frozen compost! Please, hurry, patent that idea before someone takes the lead. :-)

    We just got rid of our compost plastic cage. It was massive but since the local council provided us with colour-coded bins we don't need the gigantic greenhouse. Believe me, there were new species in there. :-) I just forgot to name them.

    Greetings from London.

  2. Good to see you back Mim. Nothing like time away to read and write to set your imagination to work.

    I'm off on a writer's week in October and looking forward to it immensely.

    The way the facts of life, its demands and rhythms interfere with our writing time goes without saying. How lovely to have time and space to which we dedicate our creative selves.

    I enjoy the image of your frozen still life here, perfect compost in such hot weather.

  3. hooray for the return of the Mim! i missed you, and your comments that always go to the heart of the matter, your beautiful, clear-eyed poems, your observations, your kindness....

  4. What a nice ode to life on the beginning of fall. Please have a great new month.

    daily athens

  5. Mim, you and your frozen compost sculpture are an inspiration!
    It's very good to have you back.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Miiim! :-) You're back!! Yeeeaahhh!! :-) !Ouououou! :-)

    Soo, why have you been forced to listen to a lot of rubbish? That interests me...
    I think the idea of freezing garbage is quite clever, and your still, which you don't find still, is poetic in the way I like it.
    Yes; I'd like to be around, to hear something of your thoughts, that's for sure!

    Well, my september starts with a lot of inner restlessness, which keeps me busy till my eyes cross as well. And which makes me feel helpless in a way, too. No way to calm down, but it's me, who won't let me...bad...
    Istanbul was wonderful!
    all the best, Mim, I missed you. yupdiduh...

    PS, too many mistakes...sorry, had to post it again...

  8. Good to see you again, Mim.

    Didn't Natalie Goldberg have something to say about garbage in Writing Down the Bones? (Though I never did understand why she put chicken bones on the compost).

  9. Ah, the rubbish, Smilla: lawyers, a deposition, boards, commissions, etc. Not all rubbish but difficult and time-eating, so my wished for writing retreat was broken up: tough work of a prosaic but intense nature--can't go into details. Yet I wrote, did my thing. Istanbul! You got there!

    Elizabeth, wishing you a good writer's week.

    Thanks to all for your kindness!

  10. I'm so glad you came out. I would fall down for a month of writing. Lucky brilliant you.

  11. I think its an awesome craft/project. Its a great idea!

    -Land Source Container Service, Inc.
    Container Rental NYC