Sunday, April 20, 2008

History is an omelette

Creative Writing April 14, 2008

During Creative Writing class, the instructor announces two sets of prompts, one at the beginning and one after the break, to help anyone who doesn’t know what to write about to get started. Prior to class I had decided to write out my reactions to an awesome quote read over the weekend. As it happened, I was able to incorporate the prompts into my themed writing.

Quote from the weekend: History is an omelette. The eggs are already broken.
first set of prompts (from book titles): 1) Stirred, not shaken; 2) You belong to me, I believe?
The reading of a book is a stirring of my mind. The words and their meanings are put forth by a brain other than mine. Sometimes my mind will seize on a word or a phrase. Then it becomes mine to play around with. I think about it, relate to it, kick it around in my brain. Instead of being stirred, it sometimes becomes shaken as it rattles around in my head. Until I must truly look at the result and say, “you belong to me, I believe?”

Over the past weekend I read a book titled Empire: a disturbing look at a possible future. It is a work of science fiction. The author, Orson Scott Card, starts each chapter with an unattributed quote. I think I recognize a couple as being from the classic The Art of War, but I am not sure. One chapter starts with this quote: “History is an omelette. The eggs are already broken”. I have already claimed it. I keep turning it over and over in my mind:

Who is the chef? Who broke the eggs? What else is on the menu? Orange juice? is that stirred-as in (gag) Tang? or will it be shaken-so to mix the pulp back in?
What other ingredients are in the omelette? How many eggs? Three? Four? Six or more? Who will eat the omelette? Omelette: A dish made of beaten and cooked eggs that are folded often around a filling. Eggs that are beaten, not shaken or stirred….

second set of prompts given: (characters): 1) the cook, 2) the abductorIf I don’t like the other ingredients, can I abduct the cook and thereby change the recipe? If I don’t like an ingredient can I pick it out and set it on the side of my plate? Or better yet, drop it on the floor in hopes the cat will eat it?

An omelette is more than just eggs. It take more than eggs to make an omelette. What kind of eggs? Chicken eggs? Ostrich eggs? Turkey eggs? Goose—no not ‘goose’ egg—that wouldn’t be anything… Reptilian eggs? Snake eggs, Dragon Eggs?

What happened to the egg? Why is it an egg? Why isn’t it a living, breathing creature? What came first-the chicken or the egg? Neither! The first and second generations were created at the same time…. Why did the chicken cross—oops, don’t go there! Oi! Bad, bad pun! Where was I…oh!

History. What is history? “A narrative of past events. an interesting past”. Hmmm, if the past wasn’t interesting, would it still be history? Who decided history was to be an omelette? Why can’t it just be scrambled eggs? If I don’t like the narration of history, can I abduct the author and cook up a different history? Can history be changed? Who cooks up history? What does he use to cook it in? What kind of pan-an omelette pan? What kind of grease is used? What is the heat source? Electric range? Gas stove? Open campfire? Or maybe they use a microwave?

An image pops into my head: an egg painted/decorated to resemble the earth, and cracked in halves. I make a note to Google for images: earth comma egg when I get home.

If God is the chef, did he write the menu long, long ago? Is the earth the egg? The cook has broken open the eggs and placed them in a container. Is the universe the container? Other planets are eggs too? Are people the other ingredients? Are people the cooks? Too many cooks spoil the broth. If you can’t stand the heat…get out of the kitchen…