“You like me … you REALLY like me” was my comment to Rachel Lebihan when she nominated me to answer the Blog Hop question “why do I write?”
And just like Sally Field did in that 1985 Oscars’ speech when she won the Best Actress award, I clutched a gold trophy in my hands and gushed.
I dedicate this to Rachel who is a food writer, restaurant reviewer and a former editor at The Australian Financial Review. Her blog The Food Sage is a collection of wise words on all things gastronomical.
Writing has always been part of my job as an arts administrator for cultural organisations presenting performance, literature, heritage, multicultural celebrations and film programs. I took a break 18 months ago when I decided I could no longer write “this year’s festival will be the biggest and best yet” in marketing collateral.
During this time I started my blog The Good the Bad & the Italian and lately have branched out into writing about my experiences as a sole carer for my 90-year-old mother (for a new health-related website) as well as taking on small freelance contracts.
What am I working on?
I’ve been re-visiting some stories on my blog and trying to expand them into more substantial tales to see if I can write something longer than 500 words that is still mildly entertaining to unsuspecting readers. Turns out I can, but not without some sweat: short ‘n’ sharp is my preferred mode. Being part of a group of talented writers in The Prose Workshop for the past six months has been a delight, and worth every hard-earned 1000 word exercise. Some interesting ideas are developing …
Why does my writing differ from others in my genre?
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a food blog? Well, no, not really. My writing is mainly about food but is contained within personal experiences, parental eccentricities, Italian folklore, topical events and discovering vintage (er, old and forgotten) kitchen accoutrements lurking in the cupboard. And films.
You won’t find many detailed recipes on my blog – except for the odd link to someone else’s content – as I don’t much enjoy quantities and methods, preferring to leave that to dedicated food bloggers.
Don’t ever ask me to categorise my blog as you’ll get a furrowed brow in response.
Why do I write what I do?
Many of my blog posts are inspired by stories of growing up as an Italian-Australian kid in Sydney’s inner-west in the 1960s. It was such an interesting time, observing my parents cooking, entertaining and trying to keep aspects of their heritage alive after their post-WW11 migration.
I’m also interested in how food is represented in films, particularly some pre-1980s American movies where Italian families only ever ate spaghetti and meatballs, which is not an authentic Italian dish. Pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup) became ‘pasta fazool’. Thank you Dean Martin.
Gathering these thoughts into something I think people might want to read is always a gamble. Will they REALLY like it?
How does my writing process work?
I have an elegant little hardcover book called a ‘Quadernetto’ (Italian for ‘small exercise book’) and I jot down ideas in it religiously. It’s roughly A6 size with a silky navy cover and graph paper pages and it follows me everywhere. Occasionally I’ll tap a thought into my iPhone, but it tends to stay there.
I draw inspiration from many things: old black and white photographs in family albums; stories in local and overseas magazines and websites; contents of cupboards; postcards; wacky songs and film scenes. These find their way as torn pages, photographs and scans into manila folders to be turned into words.
Then the untamed writing on my desktop iMac begins.
Just as I was nominated to take part in this Blog Hop, it’s my turn to introduce to you Cynthia Bertelsen who blogs at Gherkins and Tomatoes.
Cynthia is an accomplished writer, photographer and author of Mushroom: A Global History (2013). She boasts a cookbook collection of over 3500 titles (no, that’s not a typo). Cynthia writes about life, cookbooks and cooking and I love the depth and focus of her writing, which she describes as “global and historical”.