Saturday, July 28, 2007


If you combined the many ways that a person could be buzzing - from good food, good wine, sugar, and incredible people, I would sound like a cicada in july right now. Because that's what this conference - BlogHer - is doing to me. I have never met a more engaging, amazing, and inclusive group of professionals in my whole life.

It started out by my being invited to sit at the cool kids table - the Food Bloggers dinner. The event, organized by Alanna of A Veggie Venture would bring together all us food folk and let us jabber and eat all at once.

This, of course, will get bigger play on Cookthink later - have to save some of the juicy tidbits for the folks that write my paycheck. But the best conversation I had was with a lovely lady named Heather Clisby. She was wearing a SXSW t-shirt, and an idle compliment turned into a conversation about the potential danger of working in your ideal field. She, for example had had several "dream jobs" - music writer, restaurant critic, etc - and each one had resulted in her absolutely hating the thing she was working on.

It's interesting, because people look at you like you're insane if you ever complain while holding one of these gigs - certainly musicians understand this. You LOVE this, people will say, how can you not be HAPPY doing it? Well, it's because it's impossible to be happy every hour of every day, even if you're doing something you're passionate about. Cause it's not always fun.

I think it's especially hard with creative endeavors - because being on a deadline is like being told "be brilliant RIGHT NOW." It just doesn't work. Inspiration doesn't always strike, and usually it means settling for something that's less than your best work - an incredibly frustrating prospect for anyone. For myself, working at NPR was a brilliant experience, but having to be creative and witty on demand took it's toll - I basically had lost my musical voice. It needed tea and bed rest before it could come back to life, and allow me to write again.

It can seem like those few and far between who do these choice jobs have it easy - but they are still JOBS, it is still WORK, and sometimes it sucks the joy right out of the whole process. So it's something to be considered - will I still love this thing when I HAVE to do it, rather than WANTING to do it? Don't know till you try, but finding out is incredibly important. Hooray for blogs for giving us an outlet for our passions, without smothering them in the weight of timeliness and pressure.


Alanna said...

Oh I just knew I liked you! A music critic who cooks? Talk about heaven in a kitchen. And I so agree, was ours the cool kids' table or what?!! :-)

Claire said...

It absolutely was! I am still fantasizing about tea smoked duck and good company, even as I readjust to getting back to work.

Kalyn said...

Claire, well put. Even with the blog where there's more freedom, sometimes it feels like the pressure to be "on" is just too much! Great meeting you! And I agree, what a great bunch of people!