I was just glancing through “Old Friend from Far Away,” thinking it’s been a while since I just wrote randomly from a writing prompt. I stopped on a page titled “Radish.” The first paragraph opens:
“This is a wish. When you are writing about a radish, that you and the radish meet face to face. That you stay specific, present, and direct and through your true intention the radish becomes RADISH. You instantaneously summon the particular and also give life to the essence of that buried root plucked up red and edible.”
It’s good advice, I think, as I’m typing it out now, but that’s not what came to mind when I began to read. I got distracted by memories of vegetable people. I went through an odd phase a long time ago, when I couldn’t help but compare people to vegetables. Visually, I mean. One night, I was sitting at IHOP with my roommate and best friend, and someone walked in and I said, “Doesn’t that woman look like broccoli?” My friend worked hard not to spit out his coffee, but in the end, he agreed that she looked surprisingly like a stalk of broccoli. I can’t picture her anymore or I’d describe it for you better. You might think people don’t really look a lot like vegetables, and maybe you’re right. But, I challenge you to give it some thought. You may not always see a vegetable when you look at a person, but you will be surprised how often you do, if you just think about it. Leave your mind open to the fact that people can resemble, or at the very least, remind you of, vegetables. Or other foods, if you need a broader target.
In the next few days, you might find yourself noticing that someone with a mottled complexion makes you think of frozen mixed vegetables, or someone that stands stiffly brings to mind a carrot. Perhaps a balding man reminds you of a peeled onion, or someone else with spiky hair makes you think of the root end of a green onion. The point is, allowing yourself the extra space to think about random things like this might make you smile just a little more frequently, and we could all stand to do that. My New Year’s resolution is to see more vegetable people this year.
I haven’t given it a lot of thought until this minute, but if I had to classify a few of the characters I’ve introduced you to here, I’d say this. My partner most resembles a stalk of celery (she’ll probably want to smack me for this comparison, but I mean no harm). Barefoot boss – he’s a fingerling potato. Gopher-man, hmm, I’ll have to come back to him – a cabbage, maybe. Long Back Guy, an unripened Fresno chili. The Guatemalan, a pineapple. Cat Power, a roma tomato. Grass-phobia girl, a crimini mushroom. Me, I probably look sort of like an eggplant. Happy New Year!