This morning The Cursing Mommy drifted into my thoughts and I tried with difficulty to dredge up some facts about her. Doesn’t she have a video on Youtube? She was caught in one of those Paparazzi style videos that reverberate around the Internet? She is actually a self-styled product tester? A sick self-promoter with her own TV show?

Ultimately I recalled that she is a fictional character I’ve been reading about now and then in a New Yorker column by Ian Frazier. She is amusing. And I only have to spend a few minutes with her. I don’t have to commit to following her on Twitter or a weekly show. I don’t have to fret that she’s ruining her life and her fictional children’s lives. Precisely because she is fictional. And also because I can choose not to read her now. But of course I do. It’s just one page.

Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes I think that free-associating is a wonderful thing; sometimes it’s a devil. That’s good fiction for you: It’s sticky. When you are not consciously thinking about it and it leaps at you – when it inhabits your thoughts, moves in and hangs out, overtaking the important stuff in your real life that you have to remember and keep track of; when it gets in the way. That’s when you know it’s good fiction.

I like to think there are cozy niches in my brain inhabited by the characters I don’t want to let go. It’s a comfort sometimes to imagine they are living with me. That they haven’t disappeared just because I have not read them into life lately.

And even though you and I may both love, say, The Little Prince or Heathcliff or Conor Larkin (See “Trinity” by Leon Uris), my Conor is mine and your is yours. Right?

Sometimes knowing The Little Prince is close by is comforting, even to an adult.

Just now, I hunted down my copy of “The Little Prince” to re-read it and make sure I am still sympatico with the winsome fictional prince. I am. And happy, too, to be reacquainted with him and with Saint Exupery, his creator.

A few digressions:

Inside the book, between pages 30 and 31, I found an index card bookmark. On one side I had written: Hat Day, Pizza Day. The other side was addressed to my daughter, in her own handwriting, and said: “bring invatiteions (sic) to school and don’t forget.”

My copy of the paperback was marked 75 cents. As an aside to this aside, my Macbook Pro keyboard does not have a visible cent-sign marked on any key.

I also keep a companion copy of the book in French. I must have read it in its original language once upon a time, possibly for a course, and it’s nice to see myself in my mind’s eye struggling over it in French, turning to the English version for translation. For the record the cover price on this one is 95 cents.

But back to the original topic: digressions. I had intended this piece to be about how I’ve been baking up a storm lately and how one recipe has led me to another to another and how I’ve made the following things, one after the other: Fruit cobbler, spicy brownies, ice cream, meringue cookies, frozen yogurt, corn muffins with strawberries.

But I’ll save all that for another time. I think Ian Frazier has a new installment of The Cursing Mommy. Image