Monday, April 7, 2014


Now, my fatheads, you mustn't be appalled if I leave you to your own devices for perhaps long stretches in the next few weeks or even months. I have so many projects I am working on. (Projects is such a nice strong word. It calls to mind not only paper and ink and ideas but maybe flower pots and twine, or buttons and glue, or hammers and determinedness. I borrowed the word from another blogger.) I am compiling my second book of essays from the vanished At First Glass, this compilation tentatively called If No One Minds, and have decided also to take my first compilation, Prose Food, and break it up into chapbooks. This decision was almost thrust upon me after I explained to a friend how long Prose Food is, and that I was submitting it to various publishers but had heard nothing in response. No surprise there, of course, since I wasn't born yesterday. But when my friend said, "three hundred pages is a big investment for any publishing company," I suddenly saw things as it were from the other side. Yes, that would be a big investment for an unknown food and wine blogger.

Very well, why can't I make chapbooks and bring them to local craft fairs and village fests this spring and summer, and see if people will buy them? I'm thinking $4 each, or three for $10. This means I am learning how to prepare a chapbook using Microsoft Word '03 and my own printer. You stand warned: in case you ever try it, know that double-sided printing is a bit tricky. Quickly I've learned I either have to invest in a long-armed stapler or an awl and some twine (aha!) when it comes to the project of binding. Prose Food #1 is already 78 pages long. 

Then there's the novel about divorce in the age of the internet. And there's photography. Why can't I bring my photos to the local library and ask if they will display them on their ever-changing art exhibit wall? And the spring is coming so I never know when I have to rush out and take shaky pictures of sandhill cranes whirling overhead while they decide, en masse and "kk-rrool" -ing, which way is north. Actually they seem to fly west a lot. Below I include the near-to-bud-bursting branches of the maple trees, to give an idea of scale. I like the freakish, Wizard-of-Oz effect of the blurred birds.

I am also still determined to at least occasionally be a fashion blogger, since it won't do to leave that niche entirely to the dewy-skinned young girls who take endless photos of themselves wearing the same new dress and boots. I can't decide what they've got the most of, ego, looks, pin money, better cameras, more friends to leave gushing comments, or clothes. Having a tripod for the camera also helps. Here I'm trying to show you my pink and beige leopard print "infinity" scarf. Indoors, without a tripod, and without focusing just on my neck. If you want to see how this is really done, go to Vixen Vintage, or Delightfully Tacky. Or pick from among the greats at Signature9's top 99 fashion blogs from around the world. There's no end to the cascading style sheets -- Shop, Sponsor, Life and Family, Spirituality and Wellness, Home and Garden, Art and Design, etc. etc. Food and Wine. Yes, they dare to poach on our territory.

You will understand, then, if sometimes I just hurtle in with a quick picture of a wine label, or a dashed-off recipe. Lately I find the comfort of meatballs appealing for relaxed Sundays, so you may find lots of those. Food & Wine's January 2014 issue still sits propped open to page 96 on my desk: Herbed Lamb Meatballs with Rich Tomato Sauce and Ricotta. Delicious, made with almonds soaked in milk. I also made April's Veal Meatballs with Mustard Greens (p.104), but was too busy yesterday to get a chance to try the March issue's Beef Ricotta Meatballs with Braised Beet Greens. (Memo to Food & Wine, let's lay off the endless greens, shall we?) Perhaps there's a meatball chapbook idea here. 

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