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I came in here to post some information about New Year’s Eve in Paradiso, and realised that the last time I came here it was for the same purpose. I have an excuse. Actually I have loads of excuses, but one of them is genuine. When the site was set up, my intention was for this corner to be a posterboard for announcements like, well, what we’re doing for New Year’s Eve. Mr. Foley of Bite Design, however, was sure that I had deeply rooted but uncontrollable urges to blog and insisted that if the space was there I would get around to using it, possibly even to liking it. He’s a blogger, a very funny and informative one, though I don’t know where he finds the time.
Well, he was wrong. I e-mail a lot but to one specific person at a time. I text and natter on the phone as much as anyone else in this chattering country. Again, to one person at a time. Sitting here testing my toes in the shallow surf of blogging feels like how it must be to broadcast from a cult radio station on the 5am shift. Who’s out there? Ma! You up yet? Text a request and I’ll see if I can find it my record bag. That kind of thing.
Or maybe he was right and it was only a matter of time. I have another excuse. I’ve been working on a book all this year. In the usual nature of the process of writing, its been four parts procrastination, one part straight up avoidance and a sliver of work. I spent the first four months thinking about it and finding the whole concept impossible to grasp. Then I spent ten days in the country churning out thousands of words in a furious flurry that seemed incredibly exciting and creative at the time. Who would want to be an editor dealing with that stuff? Eventually, I settled into a sensible working pattern, making time every day for the book. Some days I work all day, on others its as much as I can do to squeeze in a half hour to write one recipe. The long days go something like this: get up at 9.30ish, shower for ages, spend half an hour deciding which pottering-about outfit to wear, make tea and sit down at the computer. Then the process begins. First, I find the joggers and dog-walkers outside my window incredibly fascinating, sometimes to the point where I have to go outside to watch. Then I think about writing short stories about them, making mental notes about my favourite ones. I’ll tell you about them another day. Next, I realise the floor is filthy and in need of a good scrubbing. And of course there are those shelves I intend to put up. One more session of measuring-up seems called for, and I might even go to a DIY store to look for shelves I know don’t exist. My god, I’m hungry, I should eat some toast. But of course toast isn’t good enough, so I start to cook brunch – it’s about 1pm by now. Afterwards, I need a walk around the Lough to digest, and of course the Evening Echo seems terribly interesting today so I buy that and waste another half hour at home realising there’s really nothing in its 65 pages. Finally, I might put a structure on a few pieces I want to finish today, just a layout job really, no actual writing. By now, I know I won’t write a word until I have a drink, so I give myself special dispensation to crack open a Polish beer. I relax, think about the vegetable I am supposed to be writing about, and I remember something that kicks me off. Eventually, I will stop for dinner about 10pm, tired, tipsy and happy with the day’s work. Do I like writing? It’s the most ridiculous process in the world the way I go about it, but yes, actually I do.
What’s the big deal, you might be saying. Ma, you still there? Turn the telly off and pay attention, this is my first blog. Banging out a bunch of recipes can’t be such existential torture. I agree. Although I don’t really like the process of writing recipes, it is mechanical and doesn’t really strain the old brain much. But this new book isn’t really a recipe book, though it does have recipes. I have been asked a few times recently the blunt question “what is the new book about?”. I’m not sure, actually. Ostensibly, it’s about vegetables, what else do I know? But then, to my surprise, I think it might be a little bit about me though I distrust autobiographical food books, and about this place I work in, the people who grow for me and the vital relationships within the food culture here; about the way that relationships and connections are essential to a healthy food culture, and to being able to access the deepest pleasures that food has to offer. I won’t start, that’s all for another time.
For now, all I’ll say is that it’s motoring along nicely, and not turning out quite how I intended, which has to be a good thing. I am looking forward to seeing what actually ends up between the covers come next autumn. The publication date is way off in the tail end of 2007, but there are metaphorical whips ringing in my ears to hand it over by March.
Is blogging procrastinating? Hmmm…New Year’s Eve info will follow shortly.
Posted on: 15 November 2006