Tears and Cockles

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

We have a houseguest right now. He's an old Fresnoy buddy of Dacnar's. I like this guy, though he seems to have such an upright way of sitting and talking that his sporadic wit always knocks me off my chair. Anyways, he's here now. The last time we met I was to be found weeping like an imbecile in a blackened corner.

Yup, that kind of thing does occasionally happen in the house of horrors that was my personal life. The weeping had to do with some silly art project that I was feeling rather sad over. You see, when you make something that is singular, that you cannot explain why and you know is infinitely uncool, when you can't stand with your back straight and smile in the camera, well then, maybe you've made something you can actually cry about. In retrospect, I suppose that project was like an orphan, in the sense that it feels isolated in aesthetic when seen with my other work.

In truth, I feel strongly that I meant what I made, and I cried because it was horrible to feel that such a piece had no worth. But what we make and what others think are separate, and it is the horror of modern life that sometimes we accidentally bare ourselves in inconvenient ways. Worse still, when you make a piece about a coeur brisé, and all everyone talks about is how outside the piece makes them feel, well then you know something really awful really did happen to you. So awful you can't transfer it's horror onto anyone else.

Anyways, I think Arnaud just said something like he didn't understand blah blah blah... and I bubbled into hysterics at my own sense of failure. It's like that. I am a victim of myself. But it did make things strange for him... he's sensitive... a sensitive guy... and I think he took it really hard when I burst into tears.

So that's what happened then. Tonight? Well tonight we laughed over mutual friends, drank good tea and watched an Eric Rohmer film. Everything given its due time.


For dinner I made fresh steamed cockles à la marinière, served with smoked tea polenta, and sauteed young garlic, fresh shitake and julienned zucchini. A ripping success, all under 20 minutes. Had to change the salt water on the cockles all afternoon, to get rid of the grit. Cockles are so subtle and fine in briny flavour. Still, the fact they opened with heat alerted me to something quite shocking. Throughout my youth, whenever I stopped in Singapore, one of my favourite dishes was steamed cockles. However, those cockles were always closed and notoriously difficult to open. Did that mean they were raw? Have I been munching, Indiana Jones style, on screaming live cockles all this while? If so, can someone please give met the recipe for that yummy hawker style sauce they serve with them raw cockles?