Okay, today’s post is going to be a bit different than the usual.
The “virtual blog tour” is an excellent, friendly way for writers, artists, and other creative folks to bring attention to their own work as well as that of others. It begins with an invitation from another artist or writer. Then in your blog you acknowledge the person who invited you, answer four given questions about your work and your process, and then invite three other people to participate. These people then do the same thing, referring their blog readers to the blogs of three more people, and so on. It’s a wonderful sort of “pyramid scheme” that’s beneficial for everyone: the artists and writers as well as the readers of their blogs. We can follow links from blog to blog and then we can all learn about different kinds of creative process and also find new writers and artists we may not have known about before.
The person who invited me to take part in the blog tour is Vince Gotera. Vince and I met several years ago in a Facebook group for people who grew up in San Francisco. That’s when I found out that he went to school with my brothers, though they were not close.
Vince Gotera, poet and owner of the blog “The Man With the Blue Guitar”
Vince Gotera is the Editor of the North American Review and a creative writing professor at the University of Northern Iowa. His collections of poetry include the forthcoming Pacific Crossing as well as Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, and Fighting Kite. His work has also appeared widely in magazines, anthologies, textbooks, and online venues. Vince is also a guitarist and bass player; he is the lead guitarist of the band The Random Five. His favorite color is blue in all its various flavors: aqua, cobalt, electric, indigo, periwinkle, robin’s egg, royal, sky. Visit his blog, “The Man with the Blue Guitar” at http://vincegotera.blogspot.com.
Now I’m going to dig into the four “virtual blog tour” questions:
1. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a lot of things now, though mainly looking for a real job. That’s really hard work, especially for the right-brained sort of person that I am, but I feel the need to be fair to my partner. Writing this blog, searching for recipes, testing them out, etc. is more work than work, but I really, truly enjoy it. It’s still only a few months old, but I realize it takes about a year to really start gaining some ground. Meanwhile, I enjoy the process. I also have several other projects in folders, waiting to come to fruition. One of them is a book of my nature photography. Many friends have told me that if I write it, they will buy it, so I have to hope that what they are telling me is true. At this point, I’m still in the photo gathering stage, meaning I haven’t laid it out yet. Creating books can be a very, time-consuming process. I started to create a cookbook a couple of years ago, just because there were NO jobs, and I needed to keep my design skill set up. I’ve since scrapped that, since my food photography and styling has gotten much better. I do think I will publish a Good Reason to Smile Cookbook some time down the road.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Actually, I’m not sure it does. There are a lot of food blogs out there, and I guess what I’m trying to do is post for many different people. There is a “local” aspect, which means I’m limited to what I can buy in the markets here, and I really love good, healthy food, so I tend to feature stuff with ingredients from our farmers markets. My mom likes the idea that I get historical sometimes~ posting family recipes and writing in some memories and family history. I have friends from all over the world, which makes it fun, too. Some are vegetarian, so I try to keep them interested, as well. An idea came up that we should have a family recipe sharing day. This came up after I posted my great-grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread recipe. I think it would be wonderful to have special, family recipes shared from all over the world, and I was thinking of making that real sometime around the holidays.
3. Why do you write/create what you do?
To make it simple, because I really love it. I so, totally love food~ actually, sometimes more visually even than tasting it. In fact, sometimes I can even satisfy a food craving, just by looking at a beautiful image of that food. I started doing this blog pretty recently, though it has been in my head for a while. Just for the record, I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and I mean from the time I was a kid. A couple of years ago, I was part of a Facebook Photo-A-Day photography group, based out of Australia. Whenever I posted a food photo, the group members would go a little crazy over them~ they loved them! They’ve given me a lot of encouragement. My partner Monty and I went through a tough time earlier this year, and one morning I had this interesting epiphany, and that’s really what got the blog started. I already had a background in photography, since I studied it in school, and have been going crazy with nature photography for years. I also think it has helped my writing, too. The icing on the cake has been learning food styling. Cooking food and photographing it at the same time is really hard work. I feel that I need to show things step-by-step, and that’s what makes it so much work. But what I love most, is when the food is done, and I get to set up the presentation. I feel so satisfied and happy when a recipe comes out well, and I’m able to get my vision across in a beautiful way. For me, it really is about the photography.
4. How does your writing/creating process work?
It’s quite simple really, though it happens differently for almost every post. Sometimes I see a beautiful food, like a peach or a tomato. I have to buy it, and then I’ll start searching for ideas on how to create something or even just find a recipe that uses it. Sometimes I see a gorgeous image of food styling, and I’ll want to mimic something about, whether it’s the colors, lighting or plating. Sometimes, it’s the availability or season of a certain food~ all you have to do is say “passionfruit,” and I’m thinking of all the ways I can make something from it. Passionfruit excites me. Or, sometimes I’ve posted too many desserts, and I feel it’s time to break it up with something savory. It just depends on what’s going on.
I’ll be introducing to you the people I’ve invited to participate in a future post.