In my first year at graduate school, single and set loose on one of the greatest cities on which to be set loose–Boston–I came up with a surefire question to vet any and all romantic interests. I put this question to nearly all of my dateable audience in those days. Sometimes it would show up on a first date; often it would enter the picture far before that, to see if the gentleman caller in question even warranted a first date. It goes a little something like this.
If you could pick only two words to describe yourself, what would they be?
I’m sure it’s not original, maybe not even very creative, but it worked. Right now, aren’t your wheels turning, as you try to come up with those two words? Perhaps you know immediately what your two words are. Perhaps you know and would never in a million years share them with another human being. Believe me, watching a candidate react to that question for three seconds total told me most of what I needed to know.
To all my single ladies, this is my gift to you. Use it as you wish, but be forewarned! To use this question you must be prepared. Inherent in the game of throwing this question into any tete-a-tete is the cold, hard guarantee that it will come back to you, almost instantly. Especially if your opponent hasn’t a good answer of his own, or isn’t quick on his Neocortex, it will be your turn to answer that question, ready or not. So get yourself ready.
Of course, I knew that when I came up with it. Ideally, the question would spark some fun conversational wandering and psyche reveals, but it always gave me a chance to give my answer. And here again, I share with you.
Honest and funny.
Now, the funny part you may have guessed. After all, nothing pleases me more than coming up with a title that makes one of you laugh out loud. In fact, some of my favorite moments spent working on this site have been tossing title ideas around with my husband, laughing until I was wiping my eyes. My funny is not the Elle McPherson brand of “Oh, don’t go there,” humor (which might only make sense if you know that she dated Norm MacDonald and he talked about her lack of funny on Howard Stern by quoting that as her favorite joke). My funny is more along the lines of Cloris Leachman standing at the dais to roast Bob Saget and upon looking around the roomful of comedians, saying, “Will somebody please punch me in the face so I can see some stars?”
It is the honest bit that brings me to write this post. In tossing around various viable topics upon which to muse, it struck me that sometimes in my life as a blogger I don’t dance nearly close enough to that fine line between engaging and overboard, between organically interesting and gratuitously graphic. It isn’t a question of privacy, though on the wide open, soulless expanse of technology called the Internet, I guard my privacy more than if I knew you in person.
But this isn’t a diary or a journal, it’s a business. Personally I am happy to be an open book. If we were to meet at a cocktail party (or say, Camp Blogaway), and chat over an oaky Chardonnay, there isn’t a topic that would cause me to turn tail. Professionally, however, I feel obliged to do that which benefits the site.
From the beginning I have taken a “man behind the curtain” approach to TasteStopping. Wanting the site to stand alone, I have declined to interact in certain ways with visitors, rarely replying to comments left here or responding when bloggers attach their photos to emails infused with frustration and bewilderment. I have maintained distance from the site, hoping to instill into it a certain cache with my very silence. I have twittered as “we” (the royal we, one presumes?) instead of I, to indirectly give the impression of a dedicated staff, slaving over the posting process. However, that doesn’t really fit my larger (or condensed) picture of myself. It is definitely not honest, and if funny, only unintentionally so. While I can’t promise to change any of those things entirely, at least I want to make a conscious decision to be straight forward about my process and involvement from here on out.
Because what I want to write about next is my vision for this site. My goals, my plan, my future here. That would mean putting all of those things in writing, committing to them fully (which is really the best way to achieve any goal). As it stands, TasteStopping is a day-to-day venture for me. I set aside time each day to post the next day’s photos, maybe the next two days’ worth. Then, schedule permitting, I do a little grass roots spamming marketing by fishing for bloggers at some of the other food photo sites. I wander in and out of Twitter conversations at the same time, and before you know it, Bob’s your uncle and the day has drawn to its inevitable close. Now I am trying to add in this editorial component, which, if you blog, you know takes considerable thought and due process. If I don’t exercise a bit more control over these different elements, the whole project is likely to become a whirling dervish of food, photographs, words, and Google ads…
So, if I can stick to my immediate plan, my next post will lay bare my intent, setting it free on the Internet so that I am accountable to everyone who cares to look. Right now, though, I see about twenty more minutes of free time, and a whole new page of images at TasteSpotting to cherry pick. That post will have to wait until next week.
Until then, let me ask you…what are your two words?