Saturday, November 2, 2013
Paula Marie Coomer, author of the memoir BluE MOON VEGETARIAN writes about how a vacuum cleaner changed her life
I'm a vegetarian so of course I was interested in Paula Marie Coomer's memoir Blue Moon Vegetarian. It's such a fantastic book that I asked her to write something for the blog. Thank you, Paula!
The shift in my life came in the form of a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Sixty bucks, fully refurbished, thirty-day guarantee. An exact replica of the one Phil and I owned, the one he bought when he was single, which I'd brought in to be serviced, and which wasn't worth saving.
So I traded, took home the new one. Plugged it in.
No burning rubber smell. No gears grinding. As Emerson might say: silent beautiful. Meaning unexpected. Meaning a gift from the Great Whatever. Like having your mug of beer turned quick!flash! into a flute of butter-silk champagne.
You know the kind.
The minute I saw that new-red version of our old machine, I sighed. A sign. An omen. I'm getting older now. I don't want to depend on signs and omens too much. I prefer to take things as they come.
Still, I couldn't shake the metaphor: the Hoover changed but not too much, a better, lovelier version of what we had before. And so it was last week: a few very old bills paid off, finally making strides in the now five-year-old renovation of our beloved two-story Victorian, meaning we finally agreed to pay someone to finish the job for us.
And, I sheepishly had to admit to myself, our marriage—three years in—finally becoming comfortable with itself after a world of challenges: imagine Andi Griffith marrying Madonna. That's just about how hard it's been to settle into all the nooks and crannies of ourselves and in a house that has just as many. We've both known it all along. It's not just our house but us we've been trying to restore. When we met, we were both pretty broken. Not two wholes but a conglomeration of parts.
The book I wrote about the year of our wedding, Blue Moon Vegetarian, explores those nooks and crannies. It also chronicles our journey from omnivore to vegan and the way we healed ourselves by changing the kind of food we ate and by creating recipes. Somewhere in the middle there's a crazy shelter dog named Tesla we tried to adopt, who we also thought was a metaphor for our joining, because he was a highly-pedigreed mixed-breed, and so by gosh were we. Of course you know that metaphor was nothing more than camouflage for a big, emotional conflagration that appears just often enough in our story to make you fear the entire blamed house is going to burn down.
Which, not to worry you, it never quite does.
Paula Marie Coomer is the author most recently of the poetry collection Nurses Who Love English and the novel Dove Creek, which was featured at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association 2011 Fall Tradeshow. Her new memoir Blue Moon Vegetarian will be released Nov. 20 from Booktrope.