Earlier on in my university degree I had to write a series of “textual experiments” whereby I was to transform an existing text into the form of another. We were given a list of texts to choose from and one of those was written by Richard Brautigan. The text itself is called The Scarlatti Tilt and is two simple sentences.
“It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.” That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.
There’s a lot that can be read into those sentences. Did the woman shoot her roommate? Who was he? Her lover? What was he doing learning to play the violin? There are endless opportunities for expansion on this particular text but I wanted to think outside of the box and so I decided to go way out and transform these two, simple yet descriptive sentences into a recipe. I was so proud of what I had come up with that I thought I’d share it with you all to see what you think.
Recipe for Frustration Alleviation
Serves a sentence for 2
Caution: This recipe can incite rash decisions with dire consequences.
5-6 weeks of soaking and marinating for an intense outburst of flavour.
85-90 minutes of cooking time to allow for the appropriate actions and reactions.
1 studio apartment in San Jose
1 county jail cell
1 male lead, soaked in relief
1 female lead, marinated in nonchalance
1 revolver, recently fired and emptied
1 dead body encased in a chalk outline
2 police officers
5-6 questions with coinciding answers
A dash of an essence of mystery
Remorse to taste
- Over a period of 5-6 weeks, allow for the male and female leads to soak and marinate in frustration, anger and annoyance before allowing them to breathe in relief and nonchalance.
- Preheat the ducted air conditioning to approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine the male and female leads along with the violin in the studio apartment in San Jose.
- Fire the revolver until the bullet chamber is empty and the revolver has cooled (permit approximately 15-20 minutes for this entire process).
- Add the 2 police officers and the empty revolver.
- Mix vigorously until all ingredients are combined.
- Once at the appropriate level of confusion, add a dash of the essence of mystery just to further develop and intensify the flavour.
- Remove the dead body from the chalk outline.
- Fold in the chalk outline until it can be identified throughout the mixture. Note that the dead body must be removed from the chalk outline before adding it to the mixture; otherwise you run the risk of contaminating the mixture with unsavoury textures.
- Allow the mixture to rest for 30-35 minutes whereby 5-6 questions are slowly incorporated.
- Raise the temperature in the San Jose studio apartment to approximately 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- During the resting time, allow the 5-6 questions to coincide with answers from the male and female leads. Answers must be to the point where appropriate and if you like, add a little remorse to taste.
- Permit the mixture to extrapolate extra information for a further 30-40 minutes or until the essence of mystery rises. At this time, raise the temperature a further 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the mixture is cooked and cooled, remove it from the studio apartment and relocate it to the county jail cell.
- Serve hot or cold with a side of life in jail.