Monday, April 23, 2012

Rant: Time To Give Up The Blog?

Has my blog been ruining my enjoyment of good food and wine? Should I give up the blog so that I can better enjoy gustatory pleasures? I might not be alone in these feelings, and in fact, many food and wine bloggers may find themselves in this same situation. So what is a writer to do?

The impetus to these questions was a brief and intriguing quote in the new issue of  Scientific American Mind (May/June 2012). It read: “Did you just enjoy a delicious meal? Consider keeping it to yourself. Researchers found that describing how good a cupcake tastes makes you enjoy it less and explaining why a movie is horrible makes you hate it less. Recounting an experience may enhance your understanding of it, which then dulls your opinion of the incident.

I attempted to gather additional information about this study but was unable to find anything online thus I know nothing of its methodology or sample size. But nonetheless it raises an interesting point, worthy of pondering. It is especially timely as it deals with issues that I partially addressed in my wine review last Friday.

In general, I do not feel that my writing about food and wine diminishes my pleasure, and I also feel that it can enhance my understanding of such matters. But, I can see that over analyzing such matters might serve to diminish one's feelings about such culinary pleasures. At times, this can be a fine line, something to take into consideration when writing about our experiences. It is possible that this is more applicable the closer your writing becomes to a career and not just a hobby.

There are times when analysis of all these issues can interfere with one's enjoyment. Case in point, as mentioned in my wine review on Friday, I did not engage in a technical analysis of the wine, choosing instead to revel in its sensory pleasures. It was a time to simply enjoy the beauty of this wine, and not think about it critically. At that time, such an analysis would have diminished the occasion. I have felt that same way about certain meals as well, that they only needed to be savored and enjoyed in their own, without dissecting them with a critical eye.

So, as long as I understand and accept the existence of such occasions, then I have no complaints about the times I write about my drinking and dining. In addition, my writing feeds other pleasures and satisfactions, which are their own rewards. I garner enjoyment from sharing my experiences with others, with supporting the people and places I feel worthy. It is eminently satisfying when my readers follow my recommendations and suggestions, and greatly enjoy what they find.

I am certainly going to continue to write and blog about my experiences. Next month, on May 9, will be my blog's fifth anniversary and I plan to see many more such anniversaries. But I recommend that my fellow writers ponder these questions, and determine for themselves whether their writing diminishes the pleasures of their food and drink. In fact, bloggers in other fields may want to consider these questions too. For example, does reviewing a novel diminish your enjoyment of it?

What are your thoughts about the quote above?


Todd - VT Wine Media said...

It's good practice in general, to question, whether a situation asks for taking up the pen (or keypad) to write words, or whether to draw the line and focus on the experience at hand.
I saw a bumper sticker while driving home this weekend, that read, "I'd rather be here now". It is a good Zen joke, and certainly applies at those times when reductive and analytical approaches might be educational, but do so at the risk of distracting the participant from a much more holistic and inspiring experience.
I really try to be aware going in to a situation, whether it is one that I am compelled to document and note on the spot, or I will be taking things in and assembling the memories and impressions later, with the final possibility of simply allowing for participation that is 'non content generation'. It is important to be able to discern this way, not only for maintaining healthy internal personal boundaries, but also it helps to stay in tune with situational etiquette, and respect for the folks around us, who may or may not be ready to answer questions about what they think of the wine, or if it OK that we take a photo of their dinner plate. ;)
Cheers, and keep writing.

Richard Auffrey said...

Hi Todd,
Thanks for your comments and I agree with them as well. It is all a balancing act, properly assessing each situation on a case by case basis.

Muse of Doom said...

There's something about art in general, perhaps that whatever meaning it holds for you is something sacred, that demands it not be abused. Overanalysis in the creation or consumption leads to an overfamiliarity - an improper relationship with the thing itself.

Oddly enough, all that was sparked by reading some DGA Quarterly interviews on Michael Mann and Ridley Scott yesterday - they both put an emphasis on not over-rehearsing lest the actors lose the spark of the moment. But it seems equally valid for any other art.

cash advance said...

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing a lot of brilliant stories.