Of Odysseus and Wu

Shakespeare could write some real humdingers, couldn’t he?  Thanks to a recent comment to an earlier blog entry, we were all reminded of  one of the more herbaceous ones when Sparrowhawk quoted Iago. Agreed, the bard  did have a way with metaphors.

That particular  passage  was a real mouthful, and it  made me reflect on what another writer, one who could truly spin a great yarn, wrote regarding the human appetites when his hero Odysseus allowed,  “Belly must be filled.”

The first time I read that line that was in 1972,  in Dr. Lott’s  English class,  my freshman year. I was 16 and voraciously consuming my first month of college.  The freedom! The classes! The freedom!

As it happened, the  school newspaper was housed in an intriguing structure called the Tower. And indeed, that’s what it was,  looking  for all the world like the leaning Tower of Pisa, except that it did not lean.

Journalism! I volunteered with the same abandon that I have yet to shake, and immediately  I was given my first assignment. I was to write an article about the change in the management of the school cafeteria.  The subject struck me as a tad  mundane, but I knew exactly  how to lift the story from the ordinary  to the inspired–I  let Homer, who was my latest literary crush,  write my first lead, “Belly must be filled.”

And indeed, that is one of the wonders of Wu Food.  Hunger has myriad meanings. Hunger is to hungry, as alone is to lonely.  Being hungry is no fun, and is a distraction.  It can sabotage the best laid resolution to master the appetite.

Wu Food is  filling, and that has been a grace note.  I  have not been hungry. And that is a very freeing thing, not just physically, but  intellectually and creatively.

Like Odysseus, it is only a matter of time before I find my way back to a place that looks like home.

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