Monday, May 21, 2012
First and Foremost a Writer
I think I've got it now. I am first and foremost a writer.
On this blog, I write about the arts of my home, which for me are primarily baking, cooking and gardening. As a mother, I also write about that experience and about our adventures as a family. Two pups poke their noses in from time to time, and an occasional knitting project gets shared.
I am going over all this for my own benefit mainly because you could have simply read my "about" section up there. I felt this week when I decided to do a month-long challenge, that I fell into shambles when I began working on the first of the five weekly subjects.
The first subject is writing, and the challenge organizer offered some ideas for writing about your "craft". They are all valuable ideas, and I interpreted the use of the word "craft" as simply a way to refer to all genres of writing that the many blogger participants may practice.
I was excited by the versatility of this and was going on to Mr. Savory about how this could be applied to any "craft". In other words, I could apply this to baking or gardening. Oh, oh, brilliant, I thought, until I started note taking on what this meant for me.
Suddenly, I was in a tailspin. Am I approaching this as a writer or a baker? Is my craft writing or bread baking? Suggestions such as show your work in progress, suddenly got more iffy. Do I go into detail about a bread baking technique I'm spending time with? Photograph how my garden is coming along?
It makes sense, but it didn't seem to fully fit me. The emphasis was wrong.
I am a writer and a passionate home baker, cook, amateur gardener. Those last three I will always be, but I am not truly first and foremost any of those things.
I got to feeling that there is something terribly wrong at the helm of this blog if I don't know what my craft is.
Perhaps you disagree, and feel is doesn't really matter--that one could go either way, be both. There are plenty of professional bakers and chefs out there who are also really good writers. I respond to that by saying that my guess is that most of them started out in a kitchen and eventually found their way to writing about it.
Many food bloggers started out because they wanted to write--about--food. Some of us, myself included, would write no matter what, and perhaps have in some form all our lives. If we didn't have access to a computer, we'd pick up pen and paper. If that wasn't around, we'd use nail polish, crayon, lipstick, mud, or blood from our own pin-pricked finger.
If there was no good food around to describe, we'd find another subject.
In graduate school I needed to take a required art criticism and theory course, and having left it until nearly the end, I had to take it during a particular semester. That Fall the only version of that class being offered was the one for art studio majors, not art historians, like myself. I took it anyway since it still fulfilled my requirement. When we went around the room introducing ourselves and what kind of art we made, it became clear to me that it would be far less alienating if I chose to be a writer amongst these artists, than an historian.
I should have known right then, a few credits away from getting my Master's degree, that I was in an identity crisis if I felt I had to swap out to fit in. I didn't realize until now that I often do the same thing here.
I don't need to switch identities any longer. I have been a writer all along. A writer of my own crafts.