There’s to be a blood moon this morning and Seattle is cloud-covered, probably blanketed in mist. I haven’t yet checked, not with glasses on anyway, but that’s the impression I get from my kitchen window. The streets are decorated with orange triangles beamed from lamps. That will be beautiful to walk through.
Last night the moon was full. I saw that. I saw it even before the sun was finished lighting up the sky. There it was, the ball of craters, a smudge of white-out on the blue-gray expanse. What’s it erasing? The sun’s rays? Sort of. Blotting out what it can of them from the rest of space. But not from us. It reflects to us. Shitty white-out, I suppose, more of a stain than a cover-up.
Last night I drank a Negroni in celebration. Something I don’t do during the week anymore is drink hard alcohol. But I was pleased with the feedback my workshop group gave me on three stories I’d submitted for review. Overall, two they were not so pleased with, but one sparked a robust conversation and even seemed to be loved by some and hated by others. That it made an impact made me glad. That its ending detonated powerfully for the workshop leader made me even more so. So I did what I do when I succeed even modestly. I drank.
On the Uber ride home I talked with an Iranian man about wine. He loved wine in the States. Alcohol is illegal in Iran, so he drank homemade wine there. It was not good, he said. They would crush grapes (the grips) in large tanks and hide them, and then if you were rich you would add honey, but most added sugar. What was both better and worse than the wine was their hard A, he said. It was made from not grapes but the dry one, raisins. In the same tanks these raisins would soak up water and once they were plump like the grapes they would be smashed. Then they would heat the tank and evaporation from the smashed raisin liquid would travel through the tube covering the tanks and collect drop by drop in jugs, making a liquor approximately 60 to 70 percent alcohol, at least in the first few bottles. Like moonshine, sort of. Most people would dilute it, he said, because they didn’t want to kill themselves. I leaned forward as he recited a 1600-year-old poem in Farsi. He said he got it wrong, but the translation still sounded good:
If it tastes bad it is good also;
It tastes bad because life is bad.
I was delighted and Negroni-happy to hear such wisdom on my ride home. Normally I hear only pop hits and how slow the night is. I thought of my stories and the several readers who didn’t like them. I could tell them the stories read bad because life is bad; I reflect bad life to you. But I probably don’t need to tell that to anyone. Most already know.