Clarissa Johal: Where Do All the Bread Crusts Go?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where Do All the Bread Crusts Go?

You know what I’m talking about, those crusts that parents have been cutting off their kiddo’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches since they were toddlers. At what point do the crusts “not” get cut off? Personally, I’ve been eating the crusts since I was…I can’t remember, actually. I don’t think I ever had a choice about crusts when I was a kid. I do know that my 10-year-old still nibbles her sandwiches down to the edges. And there the edges will sit, to be passed onto the dog, the birds outside, or sometimes even the pet rats if they give me that cute and fuzzy stare.

I was pondering crusts the other day and wondering how they felt about being so rudely forsaken. There’s Mr. Crust, hanging out with the rest of the squishy bread, waiting to be eaten when, pow! He gets tossed onto the plate like yesterday’s garbage. Poor Mr. Crust.

Mr. Crust is kind of like a bad sentence. I’ve done that, thrown a sentence away because it just doesn’t taste good. It was there in all its glory, sitting on the page and trying to be impressive. But no; I highlight and delete you, bad sentence, you are unwanted. My latest sentence sat there for a good two days before I decided it was just too dried up and unappetizing to keep. Off to the rats with you, dear sentence. You no longer appeal to me. When I look at it like that, I no longer want to fuss at my kiddos for tossing the crusts because I understand completely. Crusts are brown, bitter, and the texture is off. They don’t fit in with the rest of the sandwich.

The other day I saw in the grocery store that they now make a crust-less bread. Or perhaps it’s removed afterwards, like a bad sentence. I proposed the idea to my 10-year-old and was met with a resounding, “no way!” For some reason, the idea of buying bread that had been messed with in such a fashion was just unappealing. I had no arguments for her because it was white bread, which is just gross anyways. I guess it’s the same with unappetizing sentences. They have to be there to begin with, otherwise, the reader can’t enjoy the sentences that end up tasting good.

But somewhere in the Universe, the souls of bread crusts sit in an unloved pile, waiting to be eaten. You know it’s not going to happen, though. They will sit until the end of time.
Is it the same with unappetizing sentences? Perhaps. In some cases, they do have the luxury of being rearranged. Tossed up in the air like a salad and set onto the page to create something better. But mostly, they too, sit in an unloved pile somewhere in the Universe. Waiting to be used and waiting until the end of time. I think of those sentences sometimes when I have a writer's block. But, I shrug my shoulders and move on to create sentences that taste better.

So, I have made peace with bread crusts in my household. Removed without a backwards glance, I take solace in the fact that at least the dogs enjoy them. I’ve made peace with bad sentences too. They’re there, but for a reason. In order to enjoy and appreciate the good stuff in writing, bad sentences must be created--and then removed. And they must be removed without remorse. It feels wasteful, but perhaps I’ll toss the dogs an unwanted sentence or two next time and see how that goes.

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