After Jonathan Gold left our classroom last week, I think I heard Erin ask Laurie Ochoa if our guests will ever give an actual answer to our question about how they do what they do (paraphrasing here). I also find it funny, but truthful, that our guests are all naturals at what they do. Gold told us he’s “wired weirdly,” and Powers said, “Things that people are willing to pay for come from my pen.” I believe you can become a great writer, but I also think it’s easier for some than others. And I also know that some people never consider any other career. I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was six. I went to a fortune teller on the Santa Monica Pier and after looking at my little palm she confirmed what I already knew; that I would grow up to be a writer.
Aside from being “a natural,” I think Gold shared some incredibly helpful advice with our class.
He gave us guidelines when writing about food (or most things):
• Write about what you are experiencing.
• The dish came from somewhere, exists somewhere and is going somewhere; tease out the narrative.
• Be like the man from outer space, but don’t over-exoticize things.
• Elegant variation is the number one enemy of writers.
• Write details that tell.
And my favorite piece of wisdom: There is a weird inner dialogue in your head when you’re experiencing something. Transcribe that inner voice. That’s what’s interesting. Your unconscious is writing the piece. Pay attention to that annoying inner voice.
I can’t stop thinking about this last tip. I went to a few shows this weekend and I kept scribbling throughout the performances. I even did as Gold said and wrote my comments down before sharing them with the person sitting next to me.