When I started writing this post, I had to reach for my copy of The Bear to see if I’d used ‘dangleberries’ or ‘dangle berries’ to describe the berries that Anna and Stick eat.
At one point a few years ago, I was obsessed with this kind of small detail. On one hand, I was busy making all the parts of Anna’s vocabulary consistent. On the other, I was noticing that my son–who was roughly the same age at the time–varied his vocabulary depending on his mood. I came to realize that not being overly controlling of Anna’s voice might also be the way that she might feel more ‘real’.
My point: It was a funny to have to reach for the book to remind myself. I think that it means some distance between me and the story has opened up. This is a good thing.
I went snow shoeing a few weeks ago and saw these berries hanging on a bush. It is amazing that they managed to cling through the storms and ice of the winter. They must be high enough to be out of reach of the deer.
I took a photo because they reminded me of the dangle berries in The Bear. Even after the winter, they look so good. They must taste good? How could they not?
These are not the same berries as those in The Bear. I had a very specific kind of berry that I describe in the story. They taste like toothpaste, but wouldn’t be found this far south, higher up on a bush and at the end of winter. But, none of this matters to Anna.
Dangle berries to Anna are something very specific. They are the kind of berry that looks bright, juicy and appealing. They make you lick your lips. And most importantly, your mom has said never to eat a dangle berry. Ever. Except, maybe, what if she isn’t around to see?
A lot of people have asked me to name the specific kind of berry I had in mind, but I don’t think it matters. A dangle berry is a berry that you can’t identify. You aren’t supposed to eat berries you don’t know. But it looks so good. And even though you know you shouldn’t, you still you really, really want to try it.
You know that kind of berry? So do I.