The Slow-Cooked Sentence: Words as sustenance.

Like my family’s vegetables, ideas sprout, become food for thought

Rachael Conlin Levy
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Two travelers meet in spring, 2012.

The seeding of ideas and the growth of knowledge were illustrated in the latest emailed newsletter from Helsing Farms, the community supported agriculture that feeds my family half the year.

The farm announced its plan for the earliest seeding in its 28-year history:

“Happily, the camaraderie and subtle competition in our valley make all of us better farmers in the end. There is a free and generous passage of knowledge between us, which is extremely useful as climate change plays more and more of a role in our profession and requires us to think on our feet instead of relying mainly on what we have learned from the past.”

Enlarging circles of knowledge is what writer Zadie Smith grapples with when she asked, “Surely there is something to be said for drawing a circle around our attention and remaining within that circle. But how large should this circle be?” For Helsing Farm, this process looked like honest conversation with competitors struggling with a shared problem–spring’s arrival earlier each year

“Acquiring that knowledge was more painful then it sounds like it would be, there are few things more agonizing about farming then the sound of your neighbor breaking spring ground while you have chosen not to!” the newsletter admitted.

My Godot

“In the darkness of her belly there glowed a strip of red where light shown through seams of muscle frayed from pregnancy.” Excerpted from “My Godot,” a story seed that sprouted as I weeded. Link below.

The potential reward of being free and generous with your ideas may result in greater productivity, according to adman James Webb Young–a boon for farm, factory or the (ahem) unknown blog. Young compared the creation of ideas to making a meal:

“In the first stage you have gathered your food. In the second you have masticated it well. Now the digestive process is on. Let it alone—but stimulate the flow of gastric juices,” Young wrote in “A Technique for Producing Ideas.” “Now, if you have really done your part … the idea will appear.”

But he dropped the metaphor too soon. The meal isn’t complete until you invite others to the table to share it.



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