I find it very beautiful and moving that people make connections–not just that we’re able to, but that we need to. We connect little bits of fact to make stories, because it helps us to understand and to share those little bits of fact. When an event occurs that’s hard for us to understand or explain, we find ways to connect ourselves to it, to make sense of it through our experiences. We do this almost without thinking, it’s our first reaction. And our second is to share those connections, to tell others about them, to talk and talk and try to understand. We’ll say, “I’ve lived in that place,” “I knew that person,” “I knew someone that knew that person.” We’ll make connections to other similar events that we’ve lived through, that we’ve survived. It’s tempting, in a less generous or a myopically hypocritical moment, to say, “We only talk about violence when it happens in a place where we love, to people like us!” Or even to shout, “It’s not about you!” But, of course, it is about you, whoever you may be. It’s about all of us. It’s our way to lend our strength to strangers we may never meet, to suffer with the sufferers and explain the inexplicable. It’s our way to give hope for a better time after a strange, sad time. It’s our way to connect ourselves not just to events but to people, our way to extend our sense of family, to create new bonds of responsibility and affection through compassion and empathy. It’s probably facile and foolish to say it, but it seems that if we could expand these connections to reach beyond similarities of geography or experience, if we could make a larger more universal connection–if we could sympathize with somebody not because we lived in the same place but because she, too, has a daughter, or is a daughter, or is human, or, simply, is alive–if we could do this then we would have fewer of these incomprehensible events to explain, and fewer people to mourn.
So this is what I’ve been thinking all morning, as I kneaded dough and rolled out dough and shaped quite a few tarts. Baking as comfort and therapy! Over the weekend we made some pizzas. I wanted to make something the boys liked to eat, that they’d actually look forward to, and pizza never fails. I made the dough before I went to work, and then when I came home we made all the toppings. The dough rose for quite a few hours, this way, but it turned out extra crispy! This makes two big cookie-tray-sized pizzas. I made one plain, with just sauce and cheese, and one fancy, with spinach and musrhooms and brie. I’ve given the toppings in amounts here to make two fancy pizzas, but do as you like! That’s the beauty of pizza!
Here’s Elmore James with It Hurts Me Too. One of the best songs ever ever ever.