Monday, December 12, 2005

Class is a Harsh Mistress

I miss my class. If I had deadlines and the like, my revised query letter and memoir would be done!

Why is it I need the discipline of a deadline, a real deadline? It may be my journalistic past or human nature, but I really need some sense of accountability and immiment threat to move along some of the things I'd like to do as opposed to have to do.

Having a deadline moves things up from a "B" to an "A" priority for me.

I once tried to form a food writing group where we could meet and discuss and review each others' work and have deadlines. Unfortunately it became more of a food appreciation group with brunches and farmers' market fieldtrips.

The wonderful Dianne Jacob of food writing class and book fame (see links) is looking into a formal food writing group here in the Bay area. Interested? Drop me an email through my profile or leave a comment here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

School's Out

Had my last session of food writing school this past Saturday.
It was a good experience. I especially appreciated the comments from the teacher, Dianne Jacob, on my writing assignments.

In the next few days I hope to make the corrections on my memoir piece and post it here along with some suggestions on how to write such a first-person article.

I will also be reworking the one query letter I submitted and will let you know if and when I hear something!

Let me know if you have any good links for my "blogroll" on this site. I am looking for links about writing and food writing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back to School

There are food writing courses and programs throughout the U.S.
If you are interested, the class I am taking is the Writing Salon in San Francisco and Berkeley, California, at

I've also taken weekend seminars at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.
I also recommend checking out author and writing teacher Dianne Jacob's book, Will Write for Food. Dianne's website is She has info on her book and food writing tips posted there.

I also know of seminars in Greenbriar, West Virginia; Los Angeles, California and through New York University in New York City. I am sure there are lots of others out there.
If you know of others, post a comment below and I'll add it to the list.

Go out there and get writing!
(I should take my own advice.)

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Writer's Friend Passes

One of the greatest incentives to be a writer is to have readers. And there probably was no other reader that made me want to be a writer like Debi Echlin. Debi, the owner of a Great Good Place for Books, in the Montclair district of Oakland, California, was a book enthusiast like no other. Her passion for books led her to open Second Edition, a used book store in an small area already served by an independent bookstore. Used books may have been too limiting for Debi, because she and her staff metamorphosed into a Great Good Place of Books a few years later.

You could always pick up a good book recommendation, have an intelligent conversation, compare travel notes, score a free butter cookie and just feel at home at GGP thanks to Debi and her staff. She worked hard to attract interesting as well as famous authors to speak and sign books. Once Montclair established a farmer's market, Debi and crew coordinated cookbook author appearances to coincide with market day.

In this era of chain book stores with cookie cutter approaches and mass taste, a Great Good Place for Books was something else -- unique, original and always very welcoming. The store was named after a quote by author Ray Oldenburg about civilizations and cities that have a "great good place" where strangers can feel at home.

Debi Echlin created such a place. It just seems a bit less so right now.

A Great Good Place for Books --

Friday, November 18, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

Life's been, you know, busy.
I did finish my "homework" today, but I decided to focus on one idea.
I just feel full of ideas, but it is harder to focus and flesh them out.
We leave for NY tomorrow, so probably no more until I return, but I promise to provide more substantative reports.
Happy Almost Thanksgiving!
Gobble Gobble.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Yes, I Know I Have Homework and a Cookbook Author Sighting

Okay, I have an assignment from my food writing class. I have to write a query email to an editor based on a story idea. I have two ideas (well maybe two zillion but I am trying to focus here) but I can't decide which to do, so teacher's pet that I am, I will do both.

The first is about energy conservation cooking. I don't know why it took so long for this idea to pop in my head, since I was queen (well, high spokespriestess, anyway) of energy conservation in the 80s. I figure on targeting a local newspaper on this one.

The other popped in my head while I was eating my way through the Berkeley farmer's market the other day after class. How about an article with recipes and profiles of some of the prepared food offered at local area farmers' markets? Haven't decide how to refine it or where to send it yet.

Let's see what happens next! I'll do the assignment. After I get the feedback will I actually email the queries?

In other news, I met and was able to have a nice conversation with cookbook author Joan Nathan yesterday at a local bookshop. Watch here and Blog Appetit for more info.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

What Did I Learn in Food Writing School Today?

Well, I learned a lot of people have a lot of really good ideas for food articles and that many of them are more motivated to get published than I am.

Of yeah, I talk a good talk (write a good write?) about being busy with the kids, the business, the volunteer work and the messy details of life (remind me to tell you of the Kafkaesque run-ins I have had with several bureaucracies this past week), but are they just excuses? Am I afraid to confront my dream?

Will I fail? Do I not want to work that hard? Will it cause conflict with the other demands on my time and attention? It is not just am I good enough, but am I smart enough to figure out what will sell and where and I am persistent enough to get through to the decision makers and convincing enough for them to buy what I want to write?

Hey, that sounds a lot like sales. I thought I wanted to be a food writer! Starting this blog has been so fulfilling -- I am actually writing more and getting more ideas. I had thought Blog Appetit would be enough, but now I am not so sure.

Wouldn't it be great, if some editor spotted my blog and said, "get me her email address, I want that blogger?" Yeah, and my dishes will start washing themselves.

Anyway, I invite you along for FJK's wild ride as a wannabe food writer. Follow my adventures in the new blog (see the links section): I Wanna Be a Food Writer. Click on over to to check it out. I'll have some posts from Blog Appetit, but I will also be chronicling my efforts to crack the world of publication for pay. Maybe I'll change the names to protect the guilty. The innocent can use the press.