Thursday, February 11, 2010

This is the blog of a dilettante. Sorry.

One of my very good friends, M, a woman of exquisite style married with a sense of humor and a need to ingest many, many books (a brilliant and winning combination in my mind) suggested to me yesterday that my blog used to be far more social and domestic -- all about dinner parties and jolliness -- and now it's more introspective and full of poetry and photography.  I thought about this a little bit and I do agree that she has a point, but one of the hardest things I've found is that there are so many things in life that interest me, so many things that I want to devote time to, so many things I feel passionate about that I find it hard to settle on just one or even just three.

 this is Jack

For example, yesterday I discovered the most mouthwatering blog dedicated only to ramen -- pages and pages of ramen and meticulous reviews restaurants that serve ramen. On his suggestion, my son and I went out to lunch at Kyushu Ramen on Sherman Way and Sepulveda, in a somewhat sketchy part of Van Nuys.  To illustrate this point, we spotted twenty seven police cars, two police helicopters and about 50 officers both in uniform and plain clothed that were operating some kind of a sting right outside the strip mall at which we intended to dine.  It didn't matter one iota.  The Shoyu Ramen was delicious, topped with slices of chashu pork and spinach.  The order of kyoza dumplings with minced pork and green herbs came out piping hot, hand delivered by the chef himself, and couldn't have tasted moister or fresher.  I marvel at Keizo and his blog and admire grately his ability to be passionate about one topic only.

Sadly I am not that way and so my postings leap all over the place.  There is so much that interests me, I fear I may have some kind of attention deficit disease.  Yesterday for example, I marvelled at Ted Connover talking about his book The Routes of Man on PRI's The World, waxed rhapsodic over Jonathan Gold's suggestion that Los Angeles is currently the food capital of the world, and listening to a podcast from Speaking of Faith (public radio) on Approaching Prayer, stopping in my driveway at 11 o'clock at night to hear the end of it, so rapt was I.  And yet, and yet, I get anxious and re-arrange my house, drag in boughs of yellow mimosa so we can all experience it before it dies, worry about my dog's medial luxating patella, eagerly read updates from my daughter's school trip to the Sequoia National Forest, am planning a big family dinner for Sunday night (Valentine's Day and would be the 22nd wedding anniversary of J's father & Sandy), am pissed off that Mulholland is closed due to a landslide, and worry about the de-civilization of the world.  At least three times a week I imagine chapters in my imaginary book "New Modern Manners for the Nouveau Pauvre" and frequently overshare with friends about what I consider bad behaviour. Oh, I am a frightful hypocrite.  I smoke two cigarettes each night, while sitting on the stoop wondering about a scientific approach to global food and health distribution, while at the same time speed-reading John Mayer's mind-blowingly awful interview in Playboy in which he admits to having a racist penis.

And all the time trying to eek out chunks of time for writing the real stuff, other than the perfect hour spent at 8am daily in the presence of my dear writer friend W.  Even when I walk I fill notebooks with ideas, try to jiggle connections between characters and places, and things I've seen that I feel have to be included.  I wake up at night worrying about how long this has taken, how many times kind friends say "and how is that book coming along" and me having to mumble something clever.  There are so many stories you see, so many things pulling at me for my attention, and I cannot write them all.  I take heart from the blog of Tania Kindersley who is so sage and kind and forgiving on this subject.  I think of the women who don't write their first books until well into their sixties. Oh, there's that, I think. I have 20 years!  And then slump into a depression.  I even gave up for a week, went away, saw my mother and my bf Jack, swam in the sea with my son, walked a dog called Ears along impossibly white beaches, stared at sunsets, read people like Woolf and McCann, flew over Haiti while reading Greene, thought about that too much.  Came home, back to my hut, and back to my work.

 (image nicked gratefully from Tania Kindersley's blog)

And so, dear reader, I don't really fit into any of the blog boxes. This is the blog of an enthusiastic dilettante. Sorry.  But, you see, I am a great fan of that quote by Charles Eames:

Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.

Thank you for sticking with me & for sticking it to me when I get it wrong. I am a ball of gooey, cuddly gratitude.


simmone said...

my goodness - that interview! I think it can only be speedread otherwise the awfulness might colour the whole world ...

Wzzy said...

I love your blog so much I put off starting my own for eons because you were already writing the blog I wanted to write. I marvel at the breadth of your cultural interests and knowledge. You inspire me to cook more, walk more, read more. Don't ever stop! xx

Tania Kindersley said...

Ah Miss W, you are so lovely. I adore your blog; never change.

Too tired from epic drive to write more, but I would if I could. xxxx

claire said...

Miss W, so different are we in so many ways, and yet at times I read myself in your words. A writer's purpose (and responsibility, really) is not just to write but to live and experience and touch and taste, and you are doing just that. No doubt you see what Eames referenced in your expansive world, the thread that travels through this gorgeous mess we call life. I believe that when we recognize it, we are touching the divine. Keep calm and carry on!

Miss Whistle said...

Dear Claire,

I wish I knew who you were to thank you properly but your words are a real tonic. Especially on this cheery spring morning. Thank you.

-- Miss W

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss W.,

I like what you have to say, but can't abide all the horrible advertising. Please don't try to sell me tasty soy snacks.


Caroline, No. said...

I'm spending a happy hour getting lost inside your blog. You're a wonderful writer!