The Process #1: Bittman on Twinkies

I was reading the Times online after dinner the other night and found the Mark Bittman column on Twinkies, and when I got to a certain point in the article I said this reads like my blog.  He’s clever and funny, his prejudices – or better – his preferences are evident, he plays with words, he winds several stories into one.  I like to think my writing does that also. However, he is writing about food.  He always writes about food.   His column is on food and that makes sense, because that is his thing.  I cannot figure out what my blog is going to be about.  I want to write about everything.

I’m not sure why I think my blog has to be about something.  I guess it is because when I looked into wordpress, it seemed to suggest that the best blogs are about something.  But, I know, that when I decided to start my blog I knew that I would write about whatever came to me that day:  a leaf, a line in a book, a fleeting color, something in the news. . .

And that’s how I started writing.   I put up two posts.  The train post has been in my head for a long time now, and I already know of several other train posts that will come.  Christmas, however, pushed itself in first.  I’ve already written that Christmas is pushy.

As I read further in the Twinkie column, I found Bittman branching off more and more into his own life, but with the Twinkie front and center.  He wraps himself around the food in his column.  I, on the other hand, wrap my topic of the day around me.

I started to look at other blogs, and at wordpress’s chosen postings and I found – and I hate saying this – I wasn’t interested in reading them.

At this point I don’t really care if anyone reads my blog – although I wouldn’t mind knowing if someone enjoyed something I said.

I have told a few people about the blog, but very few.  Maybe I’m writing because I have something to say to these particular people.

I’m amazed at the number of people blogging.  Some I know have purely practical reasons  — they are being paid to report on restaurants, or they are promoting their own book, or they are providing support for survivors of stem cell transplants.  But not all.  Some are doing it out of vanity, others for therapy, some hoping for discovery, some to challenge their creativity.

I’m blogging because I want to see if I can write – at least that’s what I think I’m doing.  I’ve fantasized being an essayist ever since I read Joan Didion’s Slouching towards Bethlehem back in the late sixties.  I’m not sure if I have a story in me or if I have the discipline, or the talent, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

Blog posts are short and they provide a structure.  They are little exercises – I can take a thought and make it into a story and come to a conclusion in a day or two.  They are non-threatening.  And perhaps when I have written 200 posts I may be able to glue them together into “my philosophical truth” and create a book. I’ll have developed confidence, a style, and I will be a writer.

I was startled to discover Bittman’s column is not considered a column, but is a blog.  Perhaps because I am old fashioned and don’t tweet, have dropped out of Facebook, can’t deal with a phone which is also a computer, and prefer a bound book to a Kindle, I also haven’t granted the blog the status of a column.

I think it’s time to finish the Twinkie article.  I never had a thing for Twinkies, but my very, very favorite childhood lunch was a can of Chef Boyardee meat ravioli.  I could probably write a post about them.  About how I thought my mom didn’t serve them enough, about how they were the ramen noodles of my frugal graduate school days, about how I’m pretty sure I will never again be tempted to bring home a can when I see them on the shelf in the market.

But that would be Bittman’s column. This is mine.

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