May 16, 2017

Make America Croissants Again

Yesterday sucked. In ways I can’t really get into here, because this is public and there are certain things I don’t get into in my writing. This is actually a big part of my struggle as a creative nonfiction writer. I hold back out of respect for other people, and these days it’s all about stringing other people up a flagpole by their skivvies.

Let’s say for example—and I only use this example because it is so patently NOT TRUE—I hated my project manager. (I love my project manager. Not seeing him on a regular basis will the the sad part of finishing this job.) But let’s pretend I did hate him. Maybe his laugh grated on me, and I couldn’t stand how he talked about his first car all the time. (He has a lovely laugh and never talks about cars at all, which is part of why I love him.) I wouldn’t write about hating him, one because I want my house finished. But two because it would be mean.

But I also am hesitant to write nice things about people. (My daughter has the world’s greatest third-grade teacher. That is true.) Will people feel I am mining our relationship for material? Will they feel their privacy is invaded? For example, there’s an electrician I think is a delightful person. Actually, I like all our electricians, although I have to say that because one is my neighbor. But this particular electrician just absolutely fills me with happiness every time he comes to the house. I love his laugh, I enjoy his stories, I find him to be kind and generous. So, that was all pretty vague, which is why I can say it in public. But as he tells me more and I come to understand him more, there’s a lot to write about. But I can’t. Because he signed on to make my lights work, not be written about. The same goes for every electrician, mason, carpenter, blacksmith, plumber, drywaller, painter, cabinet maker, and tiler that sets foot in this house. It especially goes for the carpenters, who have been so generous with themselves, allowing me to get to know them so well. But with that gift comes a responsibility not to abuse that generosity. Writers don’t have a free pass to violate privacy.

But I want to write about all these fascinating people I’ve met.

Anyway, that’s not the point, because yesterday did not suck for anything to do with my house. It sucked for another reason altogether that also falls into the bucket of Things I Do Not Write About. The good part is I made croissants. Which takes forever, but Oh, my god they were so good. Thank god there were still two carpenters here working on my house, because if only my family had been here to eat them, who would have borne witness to the miracle that was croissants?

I’m starting another batch this morning for tomorrow’s teacher appreciation breakfast. Because nothing, nothing says “I appreciate you” like croissants.

Except perhaps not writing about you on the Internet.


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