18 August 2009 • 7:00 am

Blogging and Cooking

Having returned from a very pleasant road trip with my family (we drove from Chicago to the Badlands area of South Dakota, and camped along the way), I was dismayed to see that the Tenacious Blog had not taken on a life of its own in my absence. No new posts had magically written themselves and queued themselves up for publication. The predictable ruse of posting a series of “Best of the Tortoise” items didn’t fool you, and traffic to the web site and blog is off a bit. Of course, it is August, and many of you are likely to be off on camping trips or other diversions of your own. But September will be upon us soon, and in my experience, the pace of life will pick up considerably after Labor Day (apologies to overseas readers for the occasional U.S. –specific references). With the expected surge of traffic, I feel the pressure to get back in the writing groove again.

As I’ve started to sketch out some ideas for upcoming posts, I am painfully aware of the limited feedback upon which I can draw to select new topics. While Google Analytics is able to provide a daily validation that there is readership for the Tenacious Blog, the best validation comes from reader comments. When I hear from you, it helps me know which posts have been of value, and can inspire me (I hope) to better writing. So please comment whenever you can. Even just a word or two means a lot to me.

Writing a few hundred words every day has been challenging, of course, and some are cynical about the value of blogging itself. Blogging is a new kind of writing experience for me, and unlike others in my family, writing doesn’t come naturally. The editor in my head is constantly harping on my clumsy construction, my limited vocabulary, my propensity to substitute longer words for clearer ideas. But at least I am writing (nearly) every day.

Several weeks ago, I described the blogging experience to a friend as being like cooking (which I enjoy far more than writing) – you start with a set of ingredients, you do your best and serve up what you can, and hope for the best. Each day brings a fresh opportunity to create a masterpiece, and mediocre meals are soon forgotten.

The connection between blogging and cooking became much stronger for me with the recent release of the delightful movie “Julie and Julia.” Not only does it feature an outstanding (even for her) performance from Meryl Streep as Julia Child (the woman who changed the way America cooks), and sensual food shots, but Amy Adams as Julie Powell, perhaps the first blogger protagonist in a major film. Back in 2002, Powell decided to cook her way through all 500 plus recipes in Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking  in one year, and blog about the experience. Even if you’re not into food or cooking, the movie is a must-see, and certain to be part of next year’s Oscars.

That simple idea for a blog became a book, and now a movie. Julie Powell’s tenacity is an inspiration for me to keep writing. I hope you’ll keep reading.

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