Today marks the first anniversary of Word of Mouth. What started as an iffy proposition has turned into a year-old iffy proposition. I confess I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, much more so than I had imagined; I’m sure that’s apparent to my regular readers. At the beginning I told myself I’d give it two years and then take stock. I’m sticking to that commitment. So there’s at least one more year of Word of Mouth to come.
This platform has given me the opportunity to write things I might not have attempted for traditional publication, but I’ve also tried to stick to a standard of publishable quality. I’m not interested in writing (or reading) journal entries or random tossed-off notes. I remain committed to a food focus, but I think it’s clear that this blog isn’t only about food. Since I don’t maintain a web page for my other literary activities I’ve posted news in that arena. I’ll also continue to post the occasional off-topic musing.
Ultimately, I’m interested in the blog as a chameleon-like literary form. For me, my food obsessions and travel experiences are excuses to indulge my mania for making sentences, so my ideal reader is somebody who is at least as interested in style as content. Still, I’m fascinated by the mechanisms of the internet and its ability to bring seekers of specific content to my writing. When I started this blog I never imagined I’d become a foremost authority on Almondina, Wu Liang Ye, or Indian food in New York, but Google searches bring hundreds of readers interested in those topics to Word of Mouth. On the web any text is a reference source, for better or worse. I'm especially pleased when somebody who wants to know how many calories are in a particular food is directed to the piece where I rail against people who obsess about calories. I’m happy to have total control over content and schedule as both writer and publisher, but I also remain committed to posting at least once a week. I like the idea that there is a core group of loyal readers who follow my meanderings and I think I owe them a steady stream of content.
The blog, or any personal nonfiction for that matter, is rather vulnerable to narcissistic indulgences. I will continue to face the challenge of writing nonfiction prose that asserts personality without descending to narcissism. I might not always succeed, but in the process I may at least be able to impart some useful and interesting information. I can't think of a better anniversary present than this post at the blog Cookthink.