Imitation Practice: Model 7
Passage 7, “The proust Madeleine phenomenon is now as firmly established in folklore as Newton’s apple or Watt’s steam kettle. The man ate a tea biscuit, the taste evoked memories, he wrote a book. This is a capable of expression by the formula TMB, for Taste > Memory > Book. Sometime ago, when I began to read a book called The Food in France, by Waverly Root, I had an inverse experience: BMT, for Book > Memory > Taste. Happily, the tastes that The Food of France re-created for me-small birds, stewed rabbit, stuffed tripe, Cote Roie, and Tvel—were more robust than that of the Madeleine, which Larousse defines as “a light cake made with sugar, flour, lemon juice, brandy, and eggs.” In the light of what Proust wrote with so mild a stimulus, it is the world’s loss that he did not have a heartier appetite. On a dozen Gardiners Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck of steamers, some bay scallops, three sautéed soft-shelled crabs, a few ears of fresh-picked corn, a thin sword-fish steak of generous area, a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island duck, he might have written a masterpiece.”
by A.J. Liebling, “A Good Appetite”
My field study has been as surprising as my A in college calculus or the time I discovered that I actually liked olives. I anticipated something, the something turned into nothing, and I came out with a better something. This was the plan MTY, for Me > Teach > You. It didn’t take long to see my mistake, and I soon realized that it is the reverse: YTM, for You > Teach > Me. Luckily, I figured it out before re-attempting my failed focus groups, dropped the fancy words, forgot the Shakespeare, learned their names, asked them questions, and took a seat—which has made all of the difference in my field study, canceling my dreary plans to “teach Wed. and Sat., help with homework, interview ten students, ask ten questions.” It was a good thought for the prep class, but now it is a whole lot better than my first something. A dozen new questions, a few close friends, the risk of looking stupid, reciprocal teasing, sharing an undersized desk, studying for business management tests, eating with my hands, and practicing Facebook chat, has been much more rewarding.
“General church” at the secondary school is something like the best sacrament meeting of your life and a punk rock concert. You arrive exhausted, breathe in the music, and then abandon your inhibitions. This is the SCD formula to cure the awkwardness, Stand up > Clap > Dance. Long ago, I used to be that kid who opened my bedroom window to sing for the neighbors, but that got trampled by a more mature Sunday decorum: SFQ, for Sit Down > Fold your Arms > and be Quiet. Happily, today that window singing kid resurfaced in me- reminding me of 70 cent ice cream cones, crazy hair day, mismatching socks, skinned up knees, and the days when I didn’t care what I looked like—which is why I think I needed church today, reminding me that the root of “reverent” is the word “revere.” Not to discredit our way of worship, but I can’t help but admire the way these teenagers do it. Not a person sitting, hands flying in the air, a few wailers, some fainters, a soloist with a crackling second-hand microphone, a lot of dancers churning up the crowd, a bongo accompanying the steal drums, an electric keyboard, everyone wearing white, everyone in their own world, and not a soul cared that I am no dancer.
The Madeleine phenomenon went with Taste > Memory > Book. Reading The Food in France I had an inverse experience, Book > Memory > Taste. Had he been more fortunate in with his dinner, the Madeleine might have been a masterpiece.
The man ate a tea biscuit, the taste evoked memories, he wrote a book. That is the formula for Madeleine. Reading The Food in France gave me the inverse experience. Book > Memory > Taste. If he had a few Gardiner Island oysters and clam chowder with his “sugar, flour, lemon juice, brandy, and eggs” he might have written a masterpiece.”
What’s the deal with the proust Madeleine? A guy ate some bland food, evoked a memory, and wrote a book is what they say, but what do you say to my having read a book, evoked a memory, and then experienced a taste? What is so appealing about “like cake with sugar, flour, lemon juice, brandy, and eggs,” when there are Gardiner Island oysters, clam chowder bowls, pecks of steamers, bay scallops, sautéed soft-shelled crabs, Long Island ducks, and fresh-picked corn in the world?
Inversion by Parts:
He might have written a masterpiece with a Long Island duck, a pair of lobsters, a thin sword-fish steak of generous area, a few ears of fresh-picked corn, three sautéed soft-shelled crabs, some bay scallops, a peck of steamers, a bowl of clam chowder, and a dozen Gardiners Island oysters. However, Larousses had merely “a light cake made with sugar, flour, lemon juice, brandy, and eggs.” That is why The Food in France gave me the BMT experience, for Book > Memory > Taste, where he on the other hand had the reverse, TMB, for Taste > Memory > Book. But his appetite was not hearty, and so now he is merely established in folklore.
The whole Madeleine phenomenon is as overrated as Newton’s apple or Watt’s steam kettle. A guy ate a bland biscuit, remembered something or other, and wrote a book about it. BMT is what they call it, for Book > Memory > Taste. The Food of France on the other hand was the reverse of this formula. BMT for Book > Memory > Taste. But of course, most people prefer “light cake with sugar, flour, lemon juice, brandy, and eggs” to superfluous amounts of Gardiners Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck or two of streamers, some bay scallops, a handful of sautéed soft-shelled crabs, fresh-picked corn, sword-fish (too thin anyways), a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island duck. Not tempting at all.
This was a fun form I have never tried before, especially with the arrows. I do think that it really limits what you can say in this kind a form though. You need something that can go reverse, which limits the content a lot in my opinion. I found the middle part especially to keep up with, although the beginning sentence is fun and captivating. I used a tweaked version of the imitation on the secondary school in an earlier blog post and a cultural proof.