Will Not Work For Food

As some of you may already know, I have resigned my position at The Arizona Republic. Although I was grateful to be offered a journalism job at a time when they’re particularly hard to come by, it was time to move on. My last day is August 4th.

It’s hard not to notice that my last post before this one, dated April 5, was my sharing the good news of my recently acquired full-time position as Southeast Valley  restaurant critic at the paper.  And then I dropped off the face of the blogosphere, which was not exactly coincidence.

I counted up how many reviews I’ve written since I started writing for the paper back in June of 2008. You know what number I came up with? 180. 180 restaurants in two years. My God, it’s a wonder I’m not 40 pounds overweight instead of 20. Still, I’m a beast. So there’s that.

And then there’s the aspect of mind numbing repetition: two restaurants a week, two ledes a week, two décor descriptions a week, two conclusions a week, two everything every week. It’s a treadmill, I tell you, and the pace can suck the creativity and enthusiasm right out of you.

Do I sound like a whiner? By all means, take the reins. Then get back to me in six months, a year, 20 years. Clearly, some people are born to this job (John Mariani and other fabulous writers of his ilk come to mind)  and seem content to do it forever. And maybe some people aren’t. Or maybe I just need a little break.

It has been suggested to me that writing a 500-word review is an easy task, something to be handily banged out in an hour, but I beg to differ. In many ways, short reviews are more difficult. There’s less room or time for graceful writing, transitions, jokes and asides, discussing trends, establishing underlying philosophy or creating a solid argument. Much of the good stuff, the little nuggets that make food writing fun get left in the dust for the sake of brevity.

Conventional wisdom holds (although I seriously wonder who dreamed this one up) that people reading on the web are like good old Sergeant Friday, too busy for anything more than “just the facts, Ma’am.” I disagree. It doesn’t matter if you’re holding a book, a newspaper, or a magazine or you’re staring at your computer screen, you still want the writing to be entertaining and brimming with personality. Otherwise, why bother?

Now, that I’ll have a smidge more time, I hope to stay a bit more current here at Wild Lavender. I still love food, and I still have strong opinions. That will never change. Talk to you soon.