Sweet Talk, Home Cooking at Its Best


One of my favorite things is conversation. Whether I’m in the conversation, or just in a room full of friends who are talking (or debating), conversations make me feel at home. They ground me. They challenge me. They help me stay hopeful when my logic urges otherwise.

Yesterday, an exceptional phrase tumbled into a casual telephone conversation and continued to be pleasantly distracting for the rest of the day.

Avery Bateman, who graduated from Coker College in 2011, was telling me about the play In the Red and Brown Water,” which opens tonight in Columbia. Avery plays the lead.

Although our chat was short, she told me quite a bit about the play (I even know the ending). Avery says the production is creative and warm and sharp, a really fine work. It is poetry and myth. It is movement and rhythm. It is the ancient gods, and it is life in the projects for a 17-year-old track star. It is ambition and choices and blindness.

But the phrase that Avery threw out to me, and that toyed with me all day, was about the play’s setting. Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney set his work in the “distant present,” she said.

When and where is that?

Is that a when, or is it a where? Is it some barely touchable version of today? The distant present might be a morning dream, a gauzy curtain that I push aside without thinking but which falls back into view again and again.

I know Avery is a talent. I’ve seen her perform. But yesterday’s conversation revealed something more. She wanted me to know about tonight’s stage production – and I can’t wait to see it – but through her vocabulary and pitch and timing, she drew me into the story. She made me comfortable and eager to learn.

Before she let me go, I asked her what cookies I should make for today. What cookie could represent the connection she feels with tonight’s play?

I am happy to say that she chose oatmeal raisin cookies, which, she said, bring home to mind, like the play presses home to her heart.

Whether you find home in a place, a feeling, or in loved ones, I hope today’s cookies remind you that this Friday’s “distant present” is worthy of your finest imagination.

Happy Friday,
Come and get ’em!

2 Comments on “Sweet Talk, Home Cooking at Its Best

  1. So, it’s (very) early Sunday morning and I’m just now getting around to commenting. It’s been like that lately 🙂

    One of the things l look for/notice when reading is an interesting turn of phrase… like “distant present.” For me, it brings to mind a present I wish for — a happiness found, an emptiness lost, a tranquility realized. Life points (can’t find my words here) we all deserve but which I find myself not really expecting. But an unexpected boon of my version of the distant present is that it is always yet to come…so there is always time to hope.

    Thanks for the opportunites for reflection. I hope others will join us… Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for writing! Sometimes I hear conversations belittling hope — as if it’s a concept that provides an escape for dealing with the present — but for me hope lets me define today’s experience within a in a frame that seems both manageable and imaginative.

      I guess I want to believe that imagination is relevant. I know, that for me, anyway, being with people who put wholehearted effort into the moment while maintaining a conviction that the moment is not determinant of the future helps me enjoy everyday life.

      I hope others will join the conversation and start new ones, too.

      Happy Sunday!


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