Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

A writer friend of mine Melissa Holbrook Pierson, and a fellow Akronite (who I still have not met in actual space and who writes beautifully about place, and her dog Nelly at her blog It's Nelly's World), emailed me today about a blog I had not heard about: Jellypress: Old Recipes, Modern Life. It is the shared blog of two writers, Nancy Ring and Laura Schenone, who write about food, fun, art and ideas [they have also written three books between them]. Among a variety of topics, I noticed, at first glance, that they have written about West Virginia ramps and have quoted from The Kentucky Housewife. It is clear that their interest in the history of food is pervasive in their writings (and blogs). Laura also wrote A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove--A History of American Women Told through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances, a book that has been on my "want to own" list since I first heard about it.

Their blog and food writings are a reminder that it is because of food and my love of it--and its history--that I wrote The Pantry in the first place and also why I started this blog three-and-a-half years ago (yikes!) as preamble and a scrapbook of that process. In recent months, especially, I've steered away from that vision into religion, politics, our journey from New England to Kentucky. I've interjected personal memoir with food and place and sometimes the crumbs have been a bit too scattered, even for me.

In the past two weeks, two new Kentucky friends have decided not to blog any more. This is because of many factors, some of which point to greater issues of modern communication and that I'd like to blog about soon. Ironically, we met through each other's blogs but their decisions to "un blog" have given me a needed identity crisis as to why I do.

So, while sick post-election these past few weeks (and not sick from the results but from a dormant chest virus which has just knocked me off my socks and the computer) I have been reconsidering what I want this blog to be about. I believe what I really want to do is to return it to its food and history roots: more history, more recipes, more food memories and links and discussions of others. [Ok, maybe the occasional recipe about food and farming, or food and can I escape from the topic of place when it is in my very being and the topic of my next book? The observation of and dwelling in a place--whether historic or double-wide. Ok, well, food in situ. There we go. Now we're on to something.]

Call it a pre-Thanksgiving identity crisis. Call it a mid-blog crisis. But the end result will be more blogs...soon. While I consider this topic further I would appreciate any thoughts you, the reader, might have. What would you like to read In the Pantry and why do you come here in the first place?

In the meantime, Seasons Greetings!



Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

When we first got in touch, Catherine, you may remember my comment that we may well be the "same person"! Our lives have intersected at so many points [and now, Fairlawn Swim & Tennis!]. So I find it eerie to discover that you, too, have been thinking about your blog, its purpose and form. Similarly, mine was started in order to collect thoughts for a book. And then it started sprawling.

How could it not? Life kept intervening!

I am sure I've lost some readers this way. And sometimes I cannot understand why, oh why, I am spending this much time to craft weekly essays--for no pay.

But the blog form, I've decided, is its own thing: an opportunity to be both intimate and public; and what concerns you, will necessarily concern others like you.

Once upon a time, I spontaneously wrote poetry. That stopped years ago. Now I blog. I suppose most people care about as much about the latter as they did about the former. But I also do it for me, for the writer and the thinker inside. And perhaps, a little bit, for the exhibitionist, too.

Catherine said...

Yes, I believe sometimes that we are. Perhaps you are the long lost older sister that I always wanted but was told I didn't have, despite my persistence in the matter?

I do agree about what you say about blogging and it is exactly why I've decided to keep blogging but to perhaps tweak a bit.

And I too used to write poetry--lots and lots of it in the 80s. "Bits and threads of my very life..." I think Katherine Mansfield said that.