“We always have something to write about. We are our own reservoir.”
One of her tips for breaking through writer’s block is to start with the phrase, “I remember” and write interrupted for 10 minutes.
Here’s what I wrote during the workshop:
I remember when Chef Boyardee Beefaroni was my favorite food. I was 9 and a latchkey kid. They don’t use that term anymore, do they? What it meant was that when I came home from school, there was no adult to greet me. I wore a house key on a slim chain around my neck. I tucked it under my clothes so the kids at school couldn’t see it. I vaguely knew that it marked me as different. The cold metal key lay over my heart. I found no comfort in it.
During summer vacation, if none of my friends were around, I could spend large stretches of time alone. I was left to my own devices for food. I usually had cereal for breakfast and dinner leftovers for lunch. But one day I wanted something hot to eat.
I rummaged through the kitchen cabinets and found a can of Beefaroni. I knew how to work a can opener, but I didn’t know how to use the stove. I called my mom at work and stretched the phone cord across the kitchen as close as possible to the stove.
My mother then walked me through the process of plopping the contents of the can into a pot, putting it on the burner, turning the burner up to 7, and mixing everything around until it came to a boil and bubbled.
I felt so grown up. I could finally cook.