Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


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Check, Please! Vote for Cristiane Pereira

Cris

Chicagoans familiar with WTTW, our local PBS station, will almost certainly have watched the Emmy winning show, Check, Please!. It’s a great show that offers intimate reviews of local restaurants. The reviews are not only “thumbs up or thumbs down” but offer an education into the culinary arts and work to enhance the local culture.  It’s exactly for this reason that you should vote to have Cristiane Pereira become the next host.

Cristiane is not simply a brilliant culinary artist and successful business woman (as anyone who has ever eaten at her cafe, Taste of Brasil, knows). She is also thoughtful, articulate, cultured, warm and charming. Beyond this, she has a rare awareness of what role a restaurant owner can play toward the enhancement of a community. I’ll certainly disclose that I’m more or less a regular at Taste of Brasil, where I sometimes go to write, and where my kids love to eat. I speak to Cristian, a native of Brasil, about Oak Park very often. She agrees that a cafe is not simply a business. It is not just a place that feeds people as it turns a profit and offers employment opportunities. A cafe or restaurant is also a cultural phenomenon, and when the owners believe this, they bring a vibration that enhances the community. To serve food is not simply to have someone taste it, and to evaluate food is not just to tell someone whether or not it pleased your senses. Food and public spaces make our cities and improve the quality of our lives. People feel that Cristiane is trying to improve the quality of her customers’ and neighbors’ lives every time they have so much as a demitasse of espresso at her cafe (something I highly recommend). Check, Please! would benefit immeasurably from Cristiane’s insights.

I hope you’ll take the time to vote. It takes only a minute. Each time you watch the show, you’ll feel that much closer for having participated.


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My daughter is a Marxist

My daughter blew my brain yesterday. She’s already a literary critic.

Virtually every Lithuanian child, no matter where they live in the world, learns a poem-and-tickling-game called Virė virė košę by the time they are old enough to talk. The game is very simple. The child’s palm represents a pot of porridge while the fingers represent five children ready to be fed. A caregiver takes her finger and “mixes” the porridge in the child’s palm, tickling it lightly, reciting a poem which has many variations. The one I use is shortened from a longer version and translates roughly to this:

We’re mixing, mixing porridge

The children are leaning back

This one gets some

This one gets some

This one gets some

This one gets some

But there’s none left for the little one…

More variations follow after this last line. When I was a kid, my grandmother would pinch my pinky, the “little child,” then run her fingers up my arm to tickle my neck and say “Here’s the cold water!” I never understood this association with a lack of food and cold water or why the little child had to run away hungry—did he jump in a frozen lake or discover a spring?—but I accepted that the adults must have known what the hell they were talking about. Their stories often had to do with wartime scarcity and hunger, so this fit the themes, if sideways.

Yesterday, my daughter, Kira, who is not thirty days from her fourth birthday, had a problem with the song. She must have heard it five hundred times in her life, but now I saw a light had gone off. She interrupted me before I could tickle her neck.

“Why isn’t there any porridge for the smallest one?”

“Well,” I reasoned. “We’ve run out.”

“But why?”

“Well…we’ve given it all to the older kids.”

“Then you have to take some from the other bowls and give it to the little one.”

“That’s a great idea,” I said. “We should share with the whole family.” At this point I was scrambling, suddenly aware that this song teaches acceptance of a toddler’s starvation and even jokes about  it.

Kira looked quite perturbed. “I don’t understand why mama wouldn’t make enough.” She looked down at Saša, her brother, fourteen months old and playing with some blocks on a rug, drool dripping down his chin. “You have to plan,” Kira said. “You have to think of everyone, even if they’re small.”


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You should get divorced before you get married

This piece by Alyssa Royce seems at first glance to be making a controversial point. She’s arguing that couples should go through the motions of divorce to see what questions come up about property, kids, etc. It’s a thoughtful, energetic essay that cuts through the myths that are so damaging to relationships, especially in the United States.

I know that some religious groups, including the Catholic church, have traditions of putting their followers through “courses” in which serious questions are presented. Apparently, some of them are bullshit-for-a-fee while others provoke couples to think about their future in effective ways. Would we solve a problem by requiring something of this kind to anyone who has applied for a marriage license? Royce doesn’t ask that question, but it came up for me after I finished reading her essay.

I hope you’ll have a look.


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My vasectomy, my life-insurance

Liquid Inkers, I hope you’ll check out an author who, while not new to The Good Men Project, is certainly new to the Marriage Section. This article, My Vasectomy, My Life-Insurance, is a mediation that Ben Tanzer almost stumbles into after he and his wife begin asking tough questions about their future. We all eventually face our mortality, some of us later than others. Ben faces his when confronted with the possibility of carrying his family’s birth-control load.

I look forward to more contributions from Ben.


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Call for anonymous submissions

Liquid Inkers:

The Good Men Project is trying to encourage men to write more on the topic of marriage. In a recent post that asked why men were reluctant to write about the topic, the comments lit up with the claim that men feel silenced in their marriages, and that they believe they’d meet negative consequences for at home if they spoke (notice…not necessarily that they might complain!) about their marriages. Several commentators suggested a solution would be the anonymous essay.

This opportunity is being extended to any writer. Please click here if you are interested.


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Girls and cowboys and marriage

I’m very happy to publish this piece by Haley B Elkins, titled I Was Supposed to Marry a Cowboy. It works as an open celebration of her marriage to her husband Luke, and also as a meditation on the difference between a man of action and a man of ideas.

I think fans of the marriage section will really enjoy it. (And not to bust up any expectations, but we’ll have more from Haley soon…)