Monday, May 28

Worlds of Taste {4} :: Ecstasia

Worlds of Taste
Food in the world of Francesca Lia Block

Part 4 :: Ecstasia
(Francesca Lia Block, 1993)

Ecstasia is one of FLB's longer novels. It's a rich, complex story involving the lives of a group of friends in a sort of magical, post-apocoliptic LA, where only the young live above ground, dancing and twirling through a life of sweets and liquors and music and colors, while the old-- ashamed of their age-- go Underground to live out the rest of their lives in a haze of drugs and/or death. Those who choose neither chance the dessert around the city, while some find solace in the hallucinogenic drugs the Underworld has to offer.
The world is vivid and rich, and while I had trouble getting through it the first time (it's more dense than her others, and takes a little longer) it is so beautiful it's hard to forget.
I'd actually read the sequel first (Primavera) and got through it easier, but they're both so wonderful it doesn't even matter. Lovely writing, lush descriptions. Most of the descriptions show food in it's relation to luxury/pleasure. The youth Above eat and drink to celebrate life, but to the main characters it eventually feels shallow and fleeting. I wasn't sure how these descriptions felt, when here out of context, but they still hold that sort of... cynical...longing tone, which I think is interesting.

I felt the words should be dark and glittering, like stars dancing.
As I was going through the text, I felt like the words should be thick, black, dreamy. And the food of Elysia-- cakes, candy, sugar, champagne-- would be shades of pink, while the food of the dessert-- fruits, vegetables (life)-- would be their own appropriate colors..

"...where a mechanical doll with clocks set in her eye sockets served fluorescent drinks." (5)
"Huge oval mirrors in frames of silver roses reflected the tapestry cushions and the urns holding candy,..." (5)
"..swallowing the chocolate-mint liqueur from a bottle, licking his lips." (6)
" paint herself like an opal, eat cakes, to dance all day." (8)
"'He says he's addicted to Elysia. To all the sugar-things. He's a sugar-head,' the girl said." (10)
"The water will shine over their bodies, will fill their mouths. They will lose themselves in flowers and eat fruits that drop into their hands." (13)
"'Knocking myself against those sparkling glass windows to get inside to the champagne and the champagne-colored light.'" (15)
"Your father and I drank plum liqueur, and we watched the fireworks..." (18)
"You taste better than all the wines. You taste like crystal nectar. And you glow like wine in a glass." (27)
"Some people dressed in frilled baby costumes drank alcohol from nippled bottles." (31)
"This is the taste of longing-- like pomegranate. A thin film of translucent sweet coating the tiny, hard, white cores." (36)
" he drank from a big bottle of raspberry liqueur, thick with fruit." (44)
"'We could go eat or dance or get a drink. Dessert? Everything?'" (44)
"Lily ordered angel hair pasta, summer squash soup, persimmon salad, strawberry shortcake, a champagne cocktail. 
'You know how to order,' he said. 'Most girls I know seem scared of food.'" (45)
"Calliope took the cake layers out of the oven and began to spread them with jam." (52)
"'Does she eat enough?' His sister was swirling the pale chocolate cream onto the cake." (53)
"Lily pour two glasses of water from a carafe. The candle flames reflected in them." (56)
"Paul walked by eating fluorescent candy." (58)

"We would drink the coffee
swallow it all up
until the night was gone
leaving bare white dawn
the bare white cup..." (66)

"...where couples sat eating cake, drinking champagne, pouring champagne on their cake." (74)
"Some pretty stuff for a while, some sweet stuff, some spirits in a bottle..." (98)
"...veiled women dancing, lynx cats striding, reclining men lifting flasks of nectar to their lips." (98)
"If only I could take away the bottle that stains your lips. You say I am your wine. Let me be your wine." (99)
"...Paul's eyes across the table, cool, starry as the eyes of the luminous, looming dolls, while he ate his cake and ice cream. 'What happened to Rafe-sugar-head?' Paul asked one afternoon when Rafe ordered only sparkling water. 'I'm trying to quit.'" (110)
"Paul pushed aside the piece of layer cake drowning in chocolate ice cream." (111)
"They had eaten pastries for dinner..." (121)
"They don't want to give up all the circuses and cakes to work. To live." (132)
"He reached into his pockets and took out a handful of candy stars. The lights seemed to flash to the beat of the music that drifted up through the streets as Paul stood, eating his candy."
"Only when I drank the wine they slipped me at the long gold table did I forget. We all forgot." (141)
"...I was addicted to the glass garden and the fountains and the platters of iced rum cakes." (143)
Calliope reached into her pocket and took out some of the chocolate wafers Dionisio loved. The little girl popped them into her mouth and closed her eyes for a moment, like an addict who has finally retrieved the drug. She skipped away singing to herself, 'Butterfly flutter by, sweet meat meat sweet, sugar pie, pie in the sky.'" (153)
"Will you grow up gnawing on candy, addicted to the sweetness you savored in your mother's milk?" (153)
"...past a bar where people dressed in kimonos and high black wigs sat on pillows drinking sake and staring out the glass walls..." (154)
"And he was cracking open the blood-colored husk of the orb. And he was prying apart the insides. And he was ripping the small, bright kernel from the honeycomb sheath..." (160)
"He only needs to hold out his hand the the plums will drop-- the color of his curls and the flavor of his lips." (160)
"This sky of leaves, plums, peaches, grapes, apple blossoms." (161)
"...he would take me with him to get ice cream and give me dolls..." (165)
"I will.... eat the cakes and drink the champagne and go below when I am supposed to go below." (168)
"...hallucinations of gaping-mouthed plums are taunting him." (172)
"Dionisio and Paul will feed her wine and jams and sugared violets." (173)
"This man has dark curls and smells of fruit and smoke." (175)
"...mechanical dolls serving parfaits and exotic drinks with parasols to the beautiful children." (188)
"They were always hungry for fruits, vegetables, grains, thirsty for fountains, pools, lakes..." (192)

Related Posts: Worlds of Taste {1} Echo and {2} The Hanged Man and {3} Weetzie Bat

Thursday, May 24

A letter to My Younger Self

Dear Younger Me,

First, let the past go. This is important. It can't hurt you any more, don't let it humiliate you. It is nothing. Those memories are unimportant. It's okay to let it go. To forget.
If you haven't yet, you'll soon meet the boy that will ruin everything for you. Don't let the tears, jealousy, lies, and pinpricks of angry pain get inside of you. The things he'll convince you to do. Don't let it hurt too much.
One day that too-wide, too-thick, too-red smile will make your stomach heave with just a thought. But you'll get through everything.
He's not going to break your heart-- you'll stop loving him long before-- but he will break your spirit. And it will hurt.
But the haze you spend the next few years in will life. You'll say, Enough. After more tears and fear and guilt, he'll be gone.
You'll always feel guilty because of him. Dirty. But allow yourself the beauty of your strength. Your determination. Your heart. You'll pick up the pieces and move on. Not always in the right directions, but at least in better ones.
And one day things will just click. The past won't matter so much any more. It will still hurt, but it will be dull, distant, forgetting.
There will be a lot of tears and depression, and many boring days and nights, but life will be better. Not the way we'd like, but better all the same.

With all the love that I have,
Older Me.

Sunday, May 13

Living in Beautiful Words

I just had to take a moment to point out something FLB-Awesome. (I just made that up. But it's a thing, I'm sure.)
Justina, who runs a blog, La Boheme Magique, I used to regularly read (and probably will again, now that I'm back in the blogger state of mind) posted last month about some adorable little Birdhouses she's been making.

I don't think I've done a post about her blog yet, but I should...  anyway.

In the meantime, take a look at those birdhouses.
Okay. Did you look?
Seriously, do it.


She decoupaged the houses with pages from an FLB book! 
I mean, come on! So cool!

I love that she points out that one of them has the quote "We painted our faces with rainbows." from Psyche in a Dress in perfect readable print at the bottom of it.
(you can see it down there if you look hard)

How. Fricking. Cute.

I tried to find a link to her Etsy (she sells these!) on her blog, but I didn't see one and haven't really had time to search for it. Either way, go check that blog out; it's cool.


Friday, May 11

Worlds Of Taste {3} -- Weetzie Bat

Worlds of Taste
Food in the world of Francesca Lia Block

Part Three :: Weetzie Bat
(Francesca Lia Block, 1989)
(these page numbers are from the Dangerous Angels edition, published 1998)

The one that started it all.
Though this isn't the first FLB book I read, it is the one that got me hooked. The descriptions of (and just using) food are delectable, and everything is just kind of delightful. And it's pretty much constant. Every page has food. This post will probably be dangerously close to copyright infringement because there's food on like every page! I'm surprised this wasn't the first post I ever wrote.
One of the things I love about it is that a good amount of the food is healthy food. At some point in her life, Weetzie becomes a vegetarian, but throughout her life, she doesn't eat crazy terrible food. There are hamburgers and ice cream and lots of wine and champagne, but there's also sushi and veggies and avocado sandwiches. I mean...yum, people!

I felt the the text here should be bright and bubbly, like Weetzie. If only I could make it bubbly...

"...[you could buy] the wildest, cheapest cheese and bean and hot dog and pastrami burritos at Oki Dogs; that the waitresses wore skates at the Jetson-style Tiny Naylor's; that there was a fountain that turned soda-pop colors... and all-night potato knishes at Cantors..." [3]

"They drank beers or bright-colored canned Club drinks in Jerry and told each other how cool they were." [5]

"After the shows, sweaty and shaky, they went to Oki Dogs for a burrito." [5]

"...they... had strawberry sundaes with marshmallow topping at Schwab's, or went to the beach. tan and ate cheese-and-avocado sandwiches on whole-wheat bread and slept on the beach." [5]

"...a sweet, powdery old lady who baked tiny, white, sugar-coated pastries for them..." [6]

"...they gave him pizza pie for dinner instead of that weird meat Weetzie's mom, Brandy-Lynn, tried to dish out..." [6]

"Dirk poured rum from the little bottle he kept in his jacket pocket into the Cokes." [7]

"They went to Canter's for bagels, which comforted Weetzie because she had teethed on Canter's bagels when she was a baby. While they ate, a cart of pickles wheeled by..." [10]

"Weetzie's dad ordered two turkey platters with mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce. The white-haired waitress served them canned fruit cocktail, sugar-glazed rolls, and pink sherbet before the turkey came. They had apple pie afterward.
'Does your mother ever feed you?" Weetzie's dad asked between the fruit and the rolls." [12]

"They drank tequila sunrises and bathed in gin." [14]

"...took her to the delis for pastrami sandwiches and Cel-Ray tonic, bought her hot pretzels on the street." [15]

"...they had to walk up nine flights in the dark carrying the lox and bagels and cream cheese and bonbons..." [16]

"...Weetzie and Dirk brought Grandma Fifi tomatoes from the Fairfax market and prune pastries from Canter's." [17]

"...when Dirk came up and offered to buy him a beer." [22]

"They had barbecues and ate hamburgers and watermelon." [23]

"They all lived together and wore red and ate plantain and black beans, or wonton soup and fortune cookies... They took her to the Kingston 12 to hear reggae music and drink Red Stripe Jamaican beer..." [25]

"'Coffee, black,' he said. It was a Sunday morning at Duke's." [26]

"...pulled a bottle of pink champagne out of his trench coat." [28]

"A kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat. A kiss about chocolate when you haven't eaten chocolate in a year.... trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne...." [29]

" the land of skating hamburgers and flying toupees and Jah-Love blonde Indians." [30]

"They had enough to go to Noshi for sushi whenever they wanted (which was a lot because Weetzie was addicted to the hamachi, which only cost $1.50 an order). They also ate guacamole tostadas at El Coyote... putting the toppings of guacamole, canned vegetables, Thousand Island dressing, and cheese into the corn tortillas that were served between two plates too keep them warm." [33]

"...and were eating canned smoked oysters and drinking red wine from real glasses..." [33]

"His eyes looked like glasses of gin."

"Weetzie felt as if she were turning into steam and milk and honey." [36]

"At Noshi, they ordered hamachi, anago, maguro, ebi, tako, kappa maki, and Kirin beer. They were buzzing from the beer and from the burning neon-green wasabe and the pink ginger and from the massive protein doze of sushi." [36]

"She felt like... an Easter basket of pastel chocolate-malt eggs and solid-milk-chocolate bunnies, and yellow daffodils and dollhouse-sized jelly-bean eggs." [38]

"...bitterness was like a liqueur burning in her throat and dripping down slowly into her heart." [41]

"...Weetzie brought him more aspirin and vitamin C, and made him drink grapefruit juice and herb tea..." [45]

"...and being terrorized by Cherokee, and eating up all of Duck's Fig Newtons..." [50]

"They drove around in the T-bird eating ice cream and filming." [53]

"...they went to Chinatown and ate squid and broccoli and hot-and-sour soup. Then they wandered through the angled streets that smelled meaty and peppery." [55]

"...on the way home, he bought cannolis in Little Italy for all of them." [55]

"Charlie took them out for Italian food and French food and Jewish deli and lobster. He bought them strawberries and whipped cream... among the peachy marble columns..." [56]

"Now they were in Sylvia's, eating eggs and grits and biscuits and sweet potato pie.
'I'm okay,' Charlie said. He was on his third cup of coffee and hadn't touched his breakfast." [56]

"We have pancakes at Duke's, and dinners at the Tick Tock Tea Room." [57]

"...and have a Schwab's and have a hamburger and a milkshake for dinner, and I'd swivel around on the barstool reading Wonder Woman comics..." [60]

"She kissed him and packed bags and picnic baskets and thermoses and Spiderman lunch pails full of bagels, string cheese, chocolate-chip cookies, milk, apples, and carrot sticks." [64]

"He stopped at McDonald's but kept thinking of the cows and ordered a Filet o' Fish and a milkshake." [65]

"...he smelled the cold, bread baking, gasoline." [65]

"...looking at the faces of the men eating ice cream as if it would ease some pain." [66]

"Everyone looked drunk under the old Coca-Cola signs in the rooms that smelled of meat, onions, and sawdust. ... how they had held hands the whole time they ate their hamburgers..." [66]

"They stopped for all-you-can-eat pea soup..." [68]

"...they would take a trip to Mexico and drink tequila and lie in the sun..." [68]

"That night, they all ate linguini and clam sauce that My Secret Agent Lover Man made, and they drank wine and lit the candles." [69]

Related posts: Worlds of Taste {1} Echo & {2} The Hanged Man

Thursday, May 10

Momma I'm Comin Home

Recently, three things have made me want to be here again.
1. My beau thinks I need a hobby (blah)
2. Someone on twitter said they liked my blog a lot. I can only assume they meant this one. Or my tumblr, which is sorta in conjunction with this...
3. I've been really (really) depressed lately. And my GP basically said that she can't help me and I need a real med-shrink. Which I can't afford. So...

I really want to keep writing this. I know I'm sporadic and random and lazy and nobody really reads this anyway, but it's still one of the few things I'm still passionate about, so...I really want to do it.
I had lots of ideas when I started, and hopefully I've still got some drafts going.
I wish I had contributors....
And there's so many books to break down and talk about food and characters and lives...I just need to stop being lazy and immerse myself in this.
I have the time, I really do, because I'm so lazy.

So, right now I'm off to get some really unhealthy but really cheap and yummy fast food (churches, I can't help myself) but I will will will will really will be back.
i promise.

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