388th Friday Blog Roundup
Okay, last thoughts on food. I am seriously fascinated by the various ways we think about the things we put in our mouths.
That just sounded dirty.
Lori raised a good point: what is the definitely of a foodie? Is it only the food consumer, or is it also the food preparer? Can you be a foodie if you like to prepare food, but you don’t like to eat it? Obviously, you could be a foodie if you consumed food but never prepared it. But could you call a chef who doesn’t take great pleasure in consuming food a “foodie?”
I guess I’ve always seen the word as solely a term for the consumer of food and not the preparer. My view point is obviously skewed because I make a lot of food I don’t consume. First and foremost, I cook meat and I’ve never tasted it. I judge its doneness based on temperature and look. So far, unless everyone is lying to me and just enduring my cooking, it’s working well. I guess how things taste based on smell, and I create new recipes for meat accordingly by pairing together ingredients that just smell “right” with one another. Or I follow another person’s recipe. Ina Garten hasn’t steered me wrong.
I also love baking and candy-making; both activities bring me great pleasure. But I often don’t eat what I make. I gave up sugar a few months ago so I didn’t, for instance, consume anything that I made for Purim. They seemed to bring other people great oral pleasure (unless, of course, they’re lying to me), but I had no desire to taste any of it. I see the act of preparation as very separate from the act of consumption, though I know this isn’t the case for other people. I enjoy cooking, I enjoy baking, I enjoy making up new recipes and I enjoy giving food to other people; but I don’t always enjoy consuming the products that I just enjoyed preparing. I make them because their preparation makes me happy and giving them away seems to make other people happy. And I totally get that it brings someone else happiness, but consuming these things would not make me happy.
I would never describe myself as a foodie, because I see a foodie as a willing, open-minded receiver. And while I’m a willing, open-minded giver, I am absolutely not a willing, open-minded receiver of even my own preparations.
What do you think? Is foodie only the consumer or does it also apply to the preparer when the two are mutually exclusive?
A few years ago, I wrote an eleven-part series on getting a book published. (You need to unfortunately read it from the bottom up since the top post is the eleventh or final post.) A bunch of people told me that it was helpful, and I’m obviously still open to answering any questions as you try to get a book published. But book publishing is a pretty small part of getting an MFA. The much larger focus is on becoming a better writer, and part of that is trying your hand at various exercises. I think there is a lot of common, usable good that can come from an MFA program especially in regards to blog writing and building a blog, but it’s a pretty inaccessible degree. Unless you get a fellowship, it’s an expensive degree in the sense that it isn’t easy to make back the money spent. And not many writers have the time to commit to finishing a writing degree.
So I’m offering it for free. The contents of my brain and seven straight years of workshop. Oh, and the experience I’ve had as an editor of two literary magazines, writing professor, two books, and a handful of published poems. I’m not the only one for the job — there are far better writers on the Internet and I’ll be yanking them in here from time to time — but I am the one who is offering up all this content and all my connections for free. And hey, free is good.
I’m calling it MFA Sunday School because I’ll post on most Sunday mornings. If you don’t want to follow along, skip that first post on Sundays (since I have a tendency to also write my own thoughts about life on Sundays as a warm up for other writing). If you do want to follow along from home, you can either read the post on Sundays or read the post at your leisure. Collect them up in your Google Reader and do the exercises in your spare time. The comment section of the posts will be for people to post a link to their own work (due to length, I’m going to ask people to post on their own blogs and then just leave a link that people can follow back to your space. Unless you don’t have a space on the Web, and then feel free to post the whole piece of writing) and they will be open indefinitely.
MFA Sunday School will cover the basics of poetry — free form and fixed form. The basics of short story writing. How to dissect fiction and then use what you learn to enhance your own work. How to develop a novel. How to write creative non-fiction. How to look at your own work with a critical eye. How to submit to literary magazines. How to pitch to editors. How to form a relationship with a writing partner and look at each other’s work with a critical eye. Critique of query letters. And any other topics you’d like to know about that are usually covered in an MFA program.
This Sunday, I can post a formal opening to the project and take votes on topics. That post would be the one where I’d ask everyone who plans to participate to introduce themselves so people could find writing partners via the comment section.
BUT I would like to know now if this sounds interesting to you, if you think you’d want to drop in and out depending on whether or not the topic of the week resonates with you (see, another good part about a free online MFA course — you don’t have any required credits to complete). If this idea doesn’t resonate with you, there is no need to write these posts. I already have the information in my brain. But I like connecting with people who like to write, who want to write better, who want to understanding the process of writing, who like words and want to play with them. So if you’re game, let me know and we can get started this Sunday.
And now the blogs…
But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week as well as the week before. In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:
- “Pain Olympics” (No Kidding in NZ)
- “Being Counted” (Stirrup Queens) – thank you, Lori!
- “The Little Fertility Clinic that Could and Almost Didn’t” (The Infertility Voice)
- “Biting the Hand that Feeds Me” (Project Progeny)
Okay, now my choices this week.
Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings has a fun post that made me think about how feelings towards characters change over time (and while all of you are not characters, I think the same can apply for bloggers themselves). She admits that while she didn’t like Ginny Weasley that much at first, the character grew on her over the course of the Harry Potter series and later became her favourite. I tried to think of places where this has happened. Can you think of any? Go over and let her know — it’s fun to consider.
The latest post in the Faces of ALI series on Too Many Fish to Fry is a moving portrayal of one of my favourite bloggers. It is exactly the type of story we wish the media would cover. I love how Loribeth isn’t presented as solely an infertile woman — she is so much more than her uterus. She is a historian, a memory keeper, a family member. I cried when Loribeth called her mother after Katie’s death as well as the realizations she had holding her daughter. It’s a gorgeous post — well-written and important to read if you want to understand how infertility affects a life.
My Life in a Nut Shell has a post about not feeling like herself. She is currently pregnant again and holding her breath after prior losses. She writes, “I just wish that I could find myself again and have this pregnancy be something I’m experiencing rather than it being who I am.” It’s a moving post about losing who you are and hoping you can find yourself again.
Nuts in May has a great post about different ways of handling emotions, utilizing the term sidler to great success. It is a look into the marriage of a compartmentalizer and a dealer (one who likes to deal directly with the issue), and what happens when the two attempt to communicate. She sums it up perfectly here: “It’s all very well saying I can vent on the internet and get all those lovely supportive comments to make me feel better. You, Gentle Readers, do make me feel better. But you’re not very cuddly, and your neck doesn’t smell faintly of sandalwood and citrus, and you don’t make me tea. And anyway, I like the feeling that the inside of my head is of some interest to my spouse. It’s not a feeling I’ve had for a good while. And I like the feeling that care and consideration of the spouse’s state of mind is reciprocal, not a one-way street.” Go read the whole thing.
Lastly, Destined to be an Old Woman with No Regrets has lessons learned from an argument with her toddler, with ideas that apply to so many interactions in life. I’m going to make you go over to read the whole situation, but I love the point she makes at the end: “At first my reaction was, ‘Ha! I won’. But that really wasn’t it at all. In the end, we both won, simply because we listened to each other. She got to make a choice and I got to set the parameters that would ensure not only that she was safe, but that I made it home in one piece physically and emotionally.” Great lesson.
The roundup to the Roundup: What is the definition of a foodie? Want to participate in MFA Sunday School? And lots of great posts to read. So what did you find this week? Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between April 6th and April 13th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week? Read the original open thread post here.