So, Food Riot is no more, which makes me sad not just because I enjoyed writing for it, but because I genuinely enjoyed reading it, all of it, on a regular basis. I mean, that’s why I applied in the first place! But all things must come to an end, and I did get something out of it. A few things, actually.
I can say that I did it. I wrote for a blog and had an audience of strangers for a little while, and it was a good experience. I got to meet (well, not IRL, but virtually) other people who share an interest in food, cooking, books, and sometimes books about food, or who enjoyed pondering about food. That was a happy experience in itself.
Even more lasting, I got back in the saddle when it comes to having a deadline. I NEED a deadline. Wednesdays were my deadline in this case, and I developed a writing schedule for myself. Fridays and Saturdays were days to brainstorm and scribble snatches of ideas onto paper. Sundays and Mondays were for outlining or writing a first paragraph, or doing a little research. Mondays and Tuesdays were for writing the article properly, and Wednesdays were for transferring it into the Food Riot format and finding links or pictures to go with it. The articles were due at the end of business day their time (East Coast), which for me was two in the afternoon(West Coast).
Another thing I am grateful for is that the legitimacy of writing for someone else let me make time to write. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve got an article due Wednesday,” I would say, and then I would actually make time for myself to write! Instead of feeling guilty about my little hobby (which I went to school for and have a degree in, yet is still a hobby in my brain) I made time and sat my ass in the chair, my guilt-free ass, and wrote. I think that might be the biggest benefit of all. I got to take myself seriously! For a minute.
The trick now is to keep taking myself seriously, right? Right.
So, I’m going to keep the Wednesday deadline, but for myself. Thursdays and Fridays are for brainstorming and scribbling down ideas. Saturdays through Tuesdays are for hardcore, sitting my ass in the chair and writing, and Wednesdays are for typing it up. I can’t let this experience go to waste. If I let my schedule go, it will be as if I’d never been on board the Food Riot train in the first place.
In other news, I finally got around to reading a book Luke got me for Christmas. I’d started reading the first chapter immediately, but then set it down on a stack of violin cases and forgot about it. The other day I was folding laundry (near the violin cases– they are the sizes too tiny for The Babyhead now) and there it was.
Maurizio De Giovanni’s Everyone in Their Place is marketed as a noir, and it is a noir, but also has a supernatural veil to it. Commissario has the ability to see the last thirty seconds or so of a victim’s life, replayed over and over, as though life’s a glitchy VHS tape. The scenes in which his ability, called The Deed, is revealed in his childhood are riveting, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by mentioning it, since it happens so early on and is explained rather early on, too.
The mystery itself is straightforward. There is a death and many suspects, in a home where there are many entrances and exits. It’s almost like an English Country House mystery, but it’s Italian. I don’t expect a whole lot of surprises here. But what is interesting is the interspersing of first person point of view narrative from, I’m assuming, the killer. This isn’t uncommon anymore, but it’s written in such a way that it holds my interest and I try to figure out who it is, searching the paragraphs for clues, and it escapes cliché in the process.
The only speck of supernaturalism is in the victim replaying her last moments to the Commissario whenever he is in the house– I see dead people!– but I wonder if there will be more of a display towards the end of the book, just as there was more about it in the beginning of the book. I wouldn’t mind. I would welcome it, in fact. I’m not sure if it’s the translation or the original, but some of the best writing comes from these odd little scenes. They’re effectively creepy, in a grotesque and harrowing sort of way.
Only time will tell!