I love fortune cookies, not necessarily to eat, more so for the joy and fun they represent. How they cushion the sting of the bill at the end of an Oriental restaurant meal. How their fortunes, sometimes profound, sometimes cheesy, can make us laugh and give us something else to talk about at the end of dinner when conversation may have started to lag. They lighten the mood and add a little magic to a gathering. Who hasn't tucked away a particularly positive fortune? I had several taped to the screen of my last computer to uplift my flagging spirit during tedious tasks.
I still find coveted fortunes in random places: books, my wallet, my journal, the bathroom cabinet, coat pockets. Each time I find one, it makes me smile, lifts my spirits a little.
Once when I went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant with a friend, she told me how she didn't get a fortune in her cookie the last time she'd eaten there. At the end of the meal, we each chose a cookie...and of course hers had no fortune again! "No bad news," I told her trying to cheer her up while also wondering how unsettled and superstitious I'd feel if I was her. No fortune! Twice in a row! Yikes!
As party favours for his 7th birthday, I encouraged my son to give homemade fortune cookies, complete with fortunes which he wrote for each guest. I'd found the idea in a book and the whole process sounded so much simpler than it actually was. I was terrified that the paper would catch on fire when the cookies were baking. They ended up so undercooked that the kids had to scrape raw dough off the fortunes to read them and I had to warn the parents not to let them eat the cookies. But it was such a personal touch that no one minded. My son wrote simple valentine-like captions/fortunes ie "I'm glad you're my friend" and "I like you". A party favour my almost 30 year old son still recalls.
Certainly a time when intention outshone outcome.
My step children (all half-Asian and very familiar with fortune cookies) add "in bed" to the end of everyone's fortune. An often embarrassing albeit humorous habit that I imagine originated during their teenage years.
At Chinese New Year this year, I brought a box of fortune cookies from a restaurant to a public reading by local authors, en event I helped coordinate for NOWW (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshops). The cookies were a big hit, helping to break the ice, encourage conversation and add levity to the occasion.
I'm itching to create a painting using fortunes as a layer or as a jumping off point.
Similarly a bowl of fortunes would create inviting daily writing prompts.
They would be cool to enclose in birthday cards. Or to use as a focal point in ATCs. Or as a lead-in to a journal exploration. Or affirmations to personalise a calendar. Photo captions? Perhaps. So much possibility from a humble piece of paper. So next time you're tempted to leave your fortune on the table of a restaurant, think twice--where can you let it take you?
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.