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Friday, May 8, 2009

I Say it Therefore I am

I finish this week with a few quotes of note, to me anyway. The first comes from a blog called Orangette written by a talented writer named Molly Wizenberg. Molly, who needs no plug from me because she is doing so well on her own, was a Ph.D. candidate when she changed course and started a food blog five years ago. Today, she has a book published, A Homemade Life: Life Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, a monthly column in Bon Appetit Magazine where I first encountered her, and she and her husband are opening a restaurant in Seattle. Give her a try, because she is phenomenal, and, if you want to know who I aspire to be, (other than the Ph.D part and the fact that she’s on a different coast); I think she’s my next generation dream alter ego.

In the FAQ section of Orangette, Molly addresses her decision to change her career and writes:
“I decided, I would just get a job doing whatever, and then write after hours. I told a journalist friend of mine about my decision, and being very wise, he suggested that I start a blog. It would help hold me accountable, he said: having a blog would force me to sit down and write regularly, even when it felt difficult.”

While we all know I came to this blog with a little less planning than Molly, as I was reading this quote a wave of recognition flowed through me. This week it has been extraordinarily hard for me to come up with subjects for Middle Passages. Yet, I kept plugging, surprising myself really (especially on Monday). Last night at dinner I patted myself on the back, telling my husband and daughter how proud I was that every day, when I thought I couldn’t do it, I forced myself to sit down and write, because just as Molly’s friend suggested, I was “holding myself accountable.” That dinner comment though, came out before I found the quote on Orangette.

The next reference, which Molly also led me to, is: “Be bold, be daring, and be willing to fail and you will succeed.” This comes from a blog she links to: The Amateur Gourmet, written by Adam Roberts, another “foody” who has also written a book for sale: The Amateur Gourmet. The quote speaks to me because here I am, three months later, typing at the computer when on the surface, you’d think I'd be out chasing another recruiting job. There is, I suppose, some risk inherent in attempting to move forward in a way not related to what appears on my resume. Instead, I’m submitting articles hoping for publication and applying to writing jobs on the strength of four whopping writing credits. Another smart person, although I don’t know who, said something like “The only thing worse than failure is the failure to try.” So thanks Adam for reminding me of that. I’m putting your phrase in my back pocket so I can take it out to read once in a while.

Last but not least, a quote from yours truly, from Tuesday’s blog: “Could the mere act of identifying myself as a writer in print make it true?” Those who read on Tuesday will know that during an outplacement seminar my subconscious presented me with a “professional title” that my conscious mind desperately wants to believe. So, after calling my own little bluff here in this blog that day, I changed my Middle Passages Profile on Thursday morning to: “Writer and business professional…” Last evening (Thursday night) I checked email, and found a note from an editor from my favorite niche magazine, accepting my latest essay for publication in their next issue. Imagine that.

Do you think if I tell you about the creamy risotto I made last night using the leftover drumsticks and sausage from earlier in the week, with chopped green peppers, fennel and beef stock because I didn’t have chicken, it will make me a food blogger too?

1 comment:

Paula Villanova said...

Congrats on getting your essay published. I'm sure it's a result of this process you have begun, and for which you are holding yourself accountable.

Blogging isn't unlike journaling in its benefits except that it's so public. That's the nice thing about it; it's a way to catch the writings of others we may otherwise not have available to read.