But in trying to pay tribute to Nora, even when discussing craft, I think a food example the most fitting way.
Nora once had me and my wife over for a birthday dinner where she served an almond cake. The best I’ve ever had. I asked for the recipe (not because I’m much of a baker, but because seeing Nora bake made me think baking was the greatest thing around). The point is, Nora gave me the recipe. And she also gave me some advice. You’ve got to sift the flour. (She’d sift three times.) And if the almond cake sinks in the middle, as it sometimes does (hers hadn’t, but she surely knew that mine would—and it did) she told me to cover it with powdered sugar, and then put some fresh strawberries on top. Then it would be perfect. And that to me is a good way to sum up what being a working artist is all about. It’s about being a person who makes real things in a real world. You set out to do something, and to do it right. And if it doesn’t come out exactly as planned—you don’t just live with it, you find a way to make it even better than it would have been before. And who isn’t going to be happier with a strawberry on her plate? Nathan Englander, newyorker.