Thursday, August 19, 2010


The tender hearted may wish to avert their eyes.


It must be a feast day, a fiesta of some kind. We visit the shops with our bags and baskets, my son and I. We’re early, they’ve just opened; the lights still flickering on overhead. Under the fluorescent glare there’s excitement from the sweating crowd. We turn to watch. They let a calf loose, a velvet black one, who skids around on the marble floor, who whirls and kicks and trips on his long dancer’s legs. The butcher has a sharp knife and a grin - he also has dancer’s legs. My son takes my hand. We join the queue.

If you know me, you'll know I am erratic to say the least. If you are not a frequent visitor; I'm afraid you caught me on an unerotic day. My cat got hit by a car a couple of days ago. Now here come the maudlin posts. Sorry, guys. This is how I deal.  

I should also add that this is my morning writing, straight from a dream. I don't know of anywhere that does slaughter calves in butcher's shops, but it wouldn't altogether surprise me.


Jo said...

Aw, I'm sorry about your cat, Nikki, that's awful. I'm definitely in a 'pet ownership ain't worth the heartache' place at the moment.

As for the dream, woah. I suppose in another place on Earth there'd be nothing gory about it. Knowing your real son is so little though, makes it a little icky for this vegetarian squeamishgirl :)

Craig Sorensen said...

I went through that pain when I was around six years old. I was the one who found our cat, and it really, really stuck with me.

I feel for you, and can relate with the intense emotions of the dream.

Nikki Magennis said...

Hi Jo,

Yes, sorry, I know it's a bit harsh. I'm not sure about posting it, but I'm trying out being more open about these things.

I consider becoming a vegan about every week. I'm stil not sure if abstaining from killing is the right thing for me, though. Of course, everyone has their own stand on that. Some days I think that death and meat are all part of life. Other days I think that I could at least spare a few other animals.

Craig - ah, six years old. That's rough, I'm sorry.

At the same time, I'm in a way glad of having had and lost various pets and people when I was quite young. Perhaps foolishly I think of it as innoculation for bigger deaths. I don't know if that makes any sense at all!

Craig Sorensen said...

Yes, Nikki, that absolutely makes sense.

Jo said...

Yup, that's certainly the theory.

As to not writing it, pish. Nature red in tooth and claw, etc. I#ve seen scarier things on the National Geographic channel, y'know?

On veganisnm, dn't bother. I've just been stirred by a point in 'Prodigal Summer' by Barbabra Kingsolver, about how destructive farming is - the land clearing, the decapitated bunnies under the combine harvester - there's no bloodless way to eat unless you grow it all yourself organically - and there's too many people in the world for us all to do that, perhaps.

You've read that, right? I just had the best few days rereading. It's such a perfect book, and she has so much to say in it. And it's like Nature-otica.

Nikki Magennis said...

'I've seen scarier things on the National Geographic channel' - heheh!

Prodigal Summer, yes, I have read it. Very interesting and of course beautifully written. I learned lots while reading, and found the explanations about predators absolutely fascinating. I did find something slightly preachy in the overall tone, though - I wonder if parts of it would have made better essays than being turned into fiction?

Anyway, yes, I was reading the intro of a book on nutrition the other day that was talking about how we only eat when something else dies - whether that's vegetable or animal. Being objective, though, eating meat/fish/fowl uses so many more resources. I should eat less than I do just for environmental reasons, let alone inter-species-solidarity-in-the-face-of-mortality.

Hey, can you recommend a good veggie cookbook(s)?

Jo said...

Hmm. Cookbooks.

Moosewood cookbook. Nice everyday stuff, the minestrone soup is wonderful:

For fancy, the Cafe Paradiso cookbooks - from a sublime gourmet veggie restaurant in Cork:

This has lots of veg stuff in it - I know peopel take the piss out of the shops for being overpriced and liberal enclaves etc but I love them!

I have to confess, I haven't cooked anything properly in years. I've lost the will. But I do make nice lasagnas and chilis and bolognaises with Quorn mince.

Jo said...

PS Iknow what you mean about the praching - though, to be honest, I can feel her frustration, and I think people mostly need to be preached at, sadly. So many people don't get it.

I haven't read her one about the year she spent living off her own land, I really want to get that but I've never seen it here.