Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Ate the Last Mango in Paris

By Deborah Sharp

Apologies to Jimmy Buffet for stealing his song title for my blog post. I've been humming that tune, though, since I powered through a marathon mango-massacre this afternoon. The kitchen counter looked like a tropical fruit crime scene, oozing with orangey golden juice and chunks of severed flesh.

Sorry, y'all. Nobody thought this was going to be a post about how to make a yummy mango smoothie, did they?

Anyhoo, we're at the very end of the mango growing season in south Florida. Past the end, in fact. These last half-dozen mangoes were over-ripe to the point of squishy; bruised and soft in places where they should be firm and blemish-free. Kind of like my 50-something-year-old thighs, but that's a topic for another day.

So, mangoes. As I stood there, up to my wrists in gunky mango goo, cutting, pulling at the fruit, trying to excavate the still-good morsels from the parts that were plainly bad, I realized the mangoes were a metaphor. Stay with me here, folks. I'm a writer. I do this stuff for a living.

A metaphor for what, you might ask? You might, if you've gotten this far anyway.

Those mangoes were like a manuscript. Okay, I know that's actually a simile, but metaphor sounds better with mango. If I'd been slicing up some sapodilla, I would have gone with simile. As I excised the spoiled fruit and collected a savory bowl of the good, I thought about how similar the process is to writing. You toss out lots of mushy, nasty goop to find the sweet parts, glistening like golden nuggets.

May your writing today be filled with nuggets as sweet as perfectly ripe -- but not too ripe -- mangoes. Even if it's soft and squishy, though, you can always put it in a blender and whip it into something delicious. The manuscript or the mango, either one.

How about you? Any scrumptious nuggets of writing you're savoring today? Your own or someone else's? I liked this line from Louis Lowy's debut, ''Die Laughing,'' describing a comedian who uses humor to deflect emotion: ''He settled for a brick barricade mortared with one-liners.''



Keith Raffel said...

And Deb, may you have a year filled with mangoes (both fruity and metaphorical) and inspiration.

Alan Orloff said...

Nice post! I think from now on we should call you (or your character) Mango Mama.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Love it, Deb! You painted quite the picture. Now I have mango envy.

Deborah Sharp said...

thanks, y'all ... Mango Mama, Alan? I like it!
Keith: right back at ya, unless you're allergic to mangoes.
Kathleen: what are you harvesting up your way this month? (not subtropical mangoes, I presume?)

Darrell James said...

Love your style, Deb! I'm off to write a brusied mango now.

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, just pulled an apple off the tree and ate it for breakfast. Nothing like it.

Lesley Diehl said...

Funny and clever post. So I guess up north here writing is like apples? Pick the ripe ones and peel for a pie--toss the worms?


Louis K. Lowy said...

Thanks Deb, it's an honor to be included in a topic about mangoes - they're one of my favorite fruits!

Robin Allen said...

My current manuscript is like a durian fruit--ugly and stinky from a distance, but good and sweet once you dig in.