Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Word Blender

I came up with the name of this blog one night when I was thinking about what I do. I really do take a bunch of words, mix them up, and pour them out on the page as a way of telling the stories I love to learn about. While they're not always food related, many of my stories are about places to eat, certain kinds of foods and their background, and where the food comes from. Which is a good thing, because I like food.

I renewed my membership to the Association of Food Journalists and the Southern Foodways Alliance this week. I had the honor of attending the Southern Foodways Symposium in Jackson last summer, followed by the Association of Food Journalist Conference in Memphis last fall. I learned so much at both of those events, especially the telling of the "back story" behind our food. I want to know, now more than ever, where my food comes from. Who raises or grows it? 



Which brings me to a story I really enjoyed writing, because I really liked the people. Van Killen raises the prettiest produce ever on his Two Dogs Farm in Flora. It's next to Leigh Bailey's lettuce growing extravaganza, Salad Days...the most incredibleand futuristic growing set-up I've ever seen. 

Here's the article as it appeared in the summer 2014 issue of the 'sip magazine: (this may be hard to read, so you can always go find it on their website...www.thesipmag.com. The article is on page 28.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Special Thanks

When Nicole was in elementary school we had a bit of a problem, because when the teacher put her name on the board, she was excited. Only, having your name on the board meant you were in trouble, usually for talking in class. For her, it was the same as having her name on the marquee of a Broadway theatre!

I recently had my name in print when my writing friend, Bill Torgerson, mentioned me in the acknowledgements in his newest novel, The Coach's Wife

I met Bill at the Pulpwood Queen (the largest meeting and discussing book club in the world) Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas a few years ago. I loved Bill's book, Love on the Big Screen. So when he wrote The Coach's Wife, I had the honor of reading the manuscript. I did a line edit of the book, and made some reader comments. That was pretty gutsy of me, as Bill is an associate professor at St. John's University in New York City.

Here's what they say about Bill on the University's website:

Associate Professor
Institute for Core Studies
MFA in Creative Writing, Georgia College and State University
Bill Torgerson’s teaching emphasizes the power of choice for the students about what they write, an active learning environment, and the value of writing within a community for an audience of one’s peers. Because so much of today’s reading, writing, and thinking happens in conjunctions with the screens of devices, the notion of what it means to be digitally literate is explored. Professor Torgerson is a writer and filmmaker who earned an M.F.A. in creative writing focusing on fiction from Georgia College and State University. He is the author of three books, all published by Cherokee McGhee Press: the 80’s music and movies themed Love on the Big Screen, the Midwestern Gothic novel-in-stories Horseshoe, and a forthcoming novel The Coach’s Wife. Bill’s work has appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals including College Composition and Communication, the Journal of Teaching Writing, and Anamesa. As a filmmaker, Bill has directed two documentaries. "For the Love of Books" focuses on a Texas-based book club whose members call themselves The Pulpwood Queens. “The Mushroom Hunter” is a tale of friends who have hunted morel mushrooms together for over fifty years, and “The Brothers in Pursuit” is a narrative short about a group of college students who come together to support one another in their search for God, knowledge, compassion, and the company of a good woman. Bill also serves as the Director of Creative Writing for the Rhode Island International Film Festival. For those who’d like to be in touch with Bill about the teaching of writing, he can be reached @BillTorg on Twitter or via his website at TheTorg.com.

It is a fun read, and I felt honored to see the manuscript before it was published. So imagine my surprise last week when I got a package in the mail from Bill. Inside was a copy of the newly published book with a nice note telling me to be sure to read the acknowledgements. First of all, it was exciting to see Pat Conroy's blurb on the cover. PAT CONROY. 

And then, there it was. My name. Inside his book!

Ok, so you have to strain your neck to see it, or turn your computer sideways. Trust me...it's there. 
"A special thanks to Pulpwood Queen Susan Marquez, who helped this writing teacher weed out some of his errors." 

You're welcome, Bill. Thank you! (Perhaps you're not a D.A. after all!)