Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not reading, writing.

This fortnight I’ve been concentrating on creating my own pieces of writing rather than reading and responding to the writing of others. And I have to admit, it’s not going well.

It’s a little bit like a log-jam of ideas where the logs have made quite an effective dam in the river and none of them are easily freed. I can see bits and pieces of logs/ideas but none are happily floating along anymore. And tomorrow I need to email something I’ve been working on to my supervisor…

I’m a bit concerned.

Not overly concerned because this happened during my honours year also. I got particularly stuck on one or two stories that ended up being rewritten so many times that I now can’t stand the sight of them and they are now completely unrecognizable from the original idea that sparked them. But I am a bit concerned.

This concern probably springs more from a desire not to disappoint my supervisor than an actual distress about my project at this stage—if I was this stuck later into my candidature I imagine I would be really worried but it’s early days yet (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Maybe I should just go and play in the sandpit with Calvin until the right mood hits me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Academic Article Mania

This week I got manically excited about an article I read & realised that over the next three years I may truly become a tragically narrow-focused zombie-like individual who can only talk about her PhD project.

It went sort of like this*…

I had spent the day reading and making notes on various articles when I happened upon one called, “’Food is culture, but it’s also power’: the role of food in ethnic and gender identity construction among Goan Canadian Women.” I read with a kind of rapture and joy that I hadn’t found [ever] doing the readings for my Honours thesis last year. (I still don’t know what possessed me to look at post-colonialism!) Then Significant-Other arrived home and wanted to talk about his day at work (or something tedious like that) but all I could do was drag the conversation back to the article I read and the series of epiphanies it invoked. Then while pouring some drinks for happy hour, I detailed to Now-Relatively-Over-It-Significant-Other how this article backs up many of the things I was thinking about in relation to food preparation and women. Then while cooking us some dinner, I regaled Now-Almost-Completely-Over-It-Significant-Other with the ways in which this article also addresses ideas of the importance of women’s roles in foodwork and how this affords them a special status as the keepers of tradition and culture. Then over dinner I explained how all of these concepts were things I was already planning to address in my creative-practice research, does he see how important this is?!

Significant-Other then asked quite pointedly,
                  “So, have you finished writing your cookbook yet?”

He keeps me grounded.

*This is an entirely fictional account based on the factual excitement of finding this article, the lovely Nic is more than supportive (although he does insist on referring to my project as 'writing a cookbook').

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Food, glorious food (books)!

I am quickly coming to the conclusion that a weekly blog might just be out of my bounds of ability at ‘this stage of the game’. Not because I’m not getting anything done and not because I’m actually too busy but simply because I’m not sure the things I am doing are worth reporting on.

I started out with the more ‘dry’ area of creative-practice research & I didn’t think it would be of much interest to others but now I’m getting into the ‘food’ side of things (and if that’s ‘dry’, then I’ve cooked it too long or in too hot an oven, right?)

This week I’m reading Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter by Peter Manseau; re-reading Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris; and I just finished The Children & Love and Hunger by Charlotte Wood. I know I’ll get shouted down by some but I couldn’t finish Saturday by Ian McEwan… I didn’t even get up to the cooking part, I ditched him when he was still driving to his tennis match (or was it squash?) Anyway, the point of the novel-reading is to look at how other authors have used food within their stories & I’ve got a bit of a list of 'other things to read' happening but I’d love to hear your suggestions.

What novels or short stories have you read where food, food preparation or dining has played a noticeable role? 

(It doesn’t have to be a major role, just something worth noting. The Children, for example, doesn’t have food as a major component but when it is included, it’s significant.) All suggestions gratefully received!