Saturday, July 23, 2011


Currently: eating a bowl of Fruit N' Fibre, Tesco brand (the English version of generic, cheapest of cheap). Here, we can buy a 750g box of fruity, fiber-y goodness for £1.29, roughly the equivalent of two bucks. That's a heck of a lot of fibre (or fiber) and dried fruit per penny.

Cereal has always been an active part of my nightlife. Forget drinking pints. Forget chocolate cake. Forget dried grape leaves dampened with mist and elongated by bruschetta made from freshly picked and diced tomatoes after having been sprinkled with homegrown pressed garlic and a touch of oregano.

No. I'm talking about the milky goodness of cereal--its perfect balance of refreshing, cold taste-thrilling joy, along with all the stability of a full meal (or dessert) in a bowl.

And consider: a bowl is a wonderful symbol of life--its circular symmetry, its concave (or convex, depending on your perspective) presence, its willingness to hold steady in the face of all danger.

When I was in high school, I began eating a bowl of cereal every night. Now, thirteen years later, the habit continues (for which Jen deserves serious commendations for hearing my chomping, slurping, cereal-loving sounds emanate each night of our lives together).

Tonight, I sing the praises of cereal as one of those always-present, seldom-thanked-properly companions. I'm grateful. I'm content. I'm sitting on a couch that is half red flannel, half beige cloth (not joking: this is our couch where we rent) and I'm typing these words as, beside me, sits a bowl of Fruit N' Fibre. Half-eaten. And I'm struck by the joy of small things.

The joy of cereal.

This past week, a deal came through for a book at which I've been at work, entitled Keep Calm and Query On: Notes on Writing (and Living) with Hope. And I can't get a cover image of the original 1939 British poster as the book's cover out of my mind. And it's exciting, and I'm grateful. Very grateful. It's a neat book (well, at least, I think so!) with interviews from writers I deeply admire and am inspired by--people like John Robinson, Jane Smiley, Robert Pinsky, Daniel Handler, Lindsey Collen, George Saunders, and others.

But the thing is this: there's the cereal. Always the cereal, which leads to an important truth: being thankful for the fiber--content with the fiber, really--is what matters most. Everything else is fun and enjoyable as well, yes, but I want to live in that stable place where I can look down into a bowl of cereal, thank God for its milky wonder, and eat while closing my eyes as I slurp (far too loudly) another bite.