A Movable Feast: Single Girl Finds Words of Warmth from Papa on Thanksgiving

Larry Rivers’ Déjà vu and the Red Room: Double Portrait of Matisse (1996)

Well, I have precooked my holiday meal. .. all that is left is taking the bird from the brine, stuffing it with fruit and herbs, closing the oven door on it and waiting for its heady scent to fill the house.  It’s just me and my cat today, a copy of James Baldwin’sGo Tell it on the Mountain” or maybe just some movies from my unlimited supply of Netflix films on the laptop.

Still I wish to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and hugs to the others who are home alone this day.  And to let the latter know I feel you . . .that little stab in your side with memories of  car rides with family to Grandma’s house, and thankful to have them. . .the other stab that says “Dear God, I am so glad I don’t have to be a third wheel with the huggy cuddly couples today…” but also thankful for warmth and sustenance. . .even in this self-imposed solitude.

--Henri Matisse

So anyway here is a quote from one of my favorite books, Hemingway’s “A Movable Feast,” a title that comes to mind most every holiday. . .but especially relevant because I’ve moved myself so far from family to find four walls in the strange but comforting presence of what has been called “the most dangerous city in America.”

And I am still feeling very well-fed by mother earth and have found a lot of love here in Da Lou, but that emptiness inside where family should be. . .I guess I have learned to fill it in other ways but still. . .I can so relate to Hemingway’s words about how much you come to understand about life through these periods of dearth, of longing. . .those incredible passages that describe what it was like to view the works of Cezanne, his favorite painter, on an empty stomach.  It was as if he could see more clearly in those times, or perhaps the ache of longing made the experience that much more satisfying, the juxtaposition of emptiness and fulfillment, the thing that he could do so very well. ..on days like this, it helps to have words like his:

“On a cold windswept street, this was a warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living. The photographs all looked like snapshots and even the dead writers looked as though they had really been alive.” –Ernest Hemingway, “Shakespeare and Company,” A Moveable Feast

“Hunger is a good discipline and you learn from it.”  –Ernest Hemingway

--Paul Cezanne

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6 responses

  1. Stumbled upon this post via Twitter somehow. Have a lovely, quiet, Thanksgiving with your little feline who will surely enjoy the turkey scraps. Take comfort that the flip side is usually putting up with the drama that comes from too many relatives who don’t normally talk rehash old family nonsense.

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