BREAD (written Friday night)
As I was cleaning up from baking my bread tonight, my thought process was like one of those cartoons where the fairies jump from one stone in the water to another. It started with bricks.
I read in my bread book, Bread Alone (a fantastic Christmas present from my man), that you can use red house bricks to create your bread oven. SO I went out in the yard, got some, washed em, seasoned em by baking em a few times, and cooked on em. It’s cool.
As I was cleaning up from baking my bread tonight, I smelled the bread baking, empowered by the smell of a brick hearth. And I thought “When we get our own house, I would love a brick kitchen.” I imagined myself baking in it, covered in flour, smelling like bread. Then I realized that the kitchen in my mind was my great-grandmother’s actual kitchen, in the house that I have always wanted to live in.
Just then Tony walked in, because he wanted to read to me from an article that he was reading.
As I was cleaning up from baking my bread tonight, I smelled the bread baking, empowered by the smell of a brick hearth, and Tony read to me thoughts from Caridad Svich about Landscape Playwrights vs. Inside Playwrights, and Kushner saying about Maria Irene Fornes, “Every time I listen to Fornes, or read or see one of her plays, I feel this: she breathes, has always breathed, a finer, purer, sharper air.”
As I was cleaning up from baking my bread tonight, I was covered with flour and smelling my great-grandmother’s kitchen, and listening to my life/art partner talk about theatre, and the way it moves through space and time the way that atoms and stars move through space and time. It felt like the way artists in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s would sit in coffee shops smoking and talking about art, politics, the taste of a good wine. Only cigarettes were replaced with bread. A good trade.
We talked a little more, and the talk of theatre and playwriting intermingled with talk of Chaos Theory and how if gravity had been 1 fraction of an iota less or more, there would be no universe. The ridged structure of the cosmos allows for infinite possibilities. Like bread. There is a rigid structure. There is even an equation for what temperature to make the water that mixes with the yeast. But every loaf is unique, every loaf is alive. Every loaf stands on the brink of greatness or disaster. And there are so many ways to influence the outcome.
There is a really cool moment that happens to me sometimes when I direct a play. It is a moment of, “Wow. This is going to be something special!” It doesn’t always happen with a show, and shows can be great without getting that feeling, but when it happens it is a moment of magic. It happens to me also when I am kneading the dough for my bread. I can feel in the dough when it is going to be something special. The bread can be good without feeling that moment, but it means a more methodical, patient, moment-to-moment process to make sure you keep that bread on the side of greatness and not disaster.
As I was cleaning up from baking my bread tonight, I realized that like the yeast that ignites differently the moment it hits the cold-hot-tepid-spring-tap water, a story can be sparked from a picture, a smell, a town, a glance. Like the rigid idea we have of what a play is, so many of us think only of Wonder Bread when we think of a sandwich- mass-produced, always the same taste, stuck in the era of Donna Reed and Leave it to Beaver... But there are thousands of kinds of bread, with different flourishes, additions, flavors, histories. And even so, at the end of the day, all you really need is flour, water, yeast, and the ability to listen and be patient.