A whole week has passed and I've stayed mute. I wanted to write. But I felt I had nothing to say. Sometimes it happens.
But, the explanations? I was still reverberating from finishing the book and trying to figure out what life looks like after finishing such an encompassing project. I have to make a living. Yet, I find myself more resistant than ever to pitching stories that sell like; what wines to pour on Valentines Day or what to drink with your cat. Then when an editor at New York Mag asked me (regarding a story I wrote on Prague), "Who is Smetana!" (Oh, God. What's next? Who is Dylan? Who's Monteverdi? Who is Phil Ochs? , I thought I was truly in an alternative universe. Smetna is not the world's most famous composer but come on, he's a big deal.
Back to my career: While it's flattering to receive an invite from a start up magazine from Down Under to be their wine columnist, I wonder why people think I should do this for free? Today in a world where editors donít know who Smetna is, are words so cheap?
Which brings me to blogging.
I give it away for free here. But here I can be loose with my sentence fragments, not worry about whether the subject of my story is pretty enough and have no pressure from an advertising department to censor my content. (Though, I would love to have an editor. Every writer needs a good editor. That's another relationship going the way of Smetna.)
Over the past week, I spent some time contemplating whether or not to join in the burble of comments on the thread of The New York Times' Eric Asimov's fine blog on why bloggers blog, which came about because Tom Wark of the Fermentation.com site/blog was sponsoring The America Wine Blog Awards. I dithered on whether I should post my answer there or here? And does anyone actually care why I started this site?
For those who care, here it is. I make my living at this writing thing. I don't have the luxury of a regular paycheck, a trust fund or someone to support me. I don't have a regular outlet for thoughts, feelings, comments, observations, ideas and words. An actor has to act. A musician has to play. A writer has to write. Simple. Though I'm not an exhibitionist, I need an audience. While I also need to get paid, I need to write---the way I need to drink, the way I need to breathe, the way I need good tomatoes---the way I need....well, you know.
When I idealistically wrote my first novel as an all too-shy eight-year-old (all seven pages of it, I wrote because I felt I had to express myself or my skin would burst through my freckles. Several decades later it's no different, except my freckles seem to have disappeared.
I'm fortunate to have a few editors who seem to adore me, yet sometimes my ideas are not exactly the most editorially popular (read: bad for advertising, too esoteric, quirky or far, far from the mainstream). Many sharp wine stories passed by, merely whispered to friends or got scratched in my diary. Rather than being silenced, I decided to be proactive and jumped into the blogosphere with Appellation Feiring, AliceFeiring.com or whatever people call this site.
Readers showed up. That was the shocking thing. Up to 8,000 readers a day visit here. An essential difference between posting and writing on assignment is that whether I have energy or a brilliant idea, if Iíve a contract I must produce. If I have a week of questioning my existence and purpose as I did last week, this site remains stagnant. Because really, you don't want to read filler about the existential dilemma, do you? Or my love life? Do you? I'll save that for my fiction, not my blog.
But thank you for reading, and sorry for the blank space.