The other day I was on the playground, watching my young niece navigate the swings and slides while my kids were at a practice. I was in a pleasant conversation with another woman I know, also a mom, about honors language arts classes. The conversation turned to Great Expectations…the great ‘beach read’ for all middle school students interested in ‘honors’ status in high school. She said she’d read about a fourth of it and quit and I said that I couldn’t even remember reading it, if I did. This was a sheepish but honest share…I’m embarrassed, I told her, because I’m a writer and I should…
Before I could finish my confession, she said, a writer? What kinda stuff do you write?
Lots of stuff, but primarily about wine. Are you into wine?
Of cooouuurse, she said. Have you written anything for something I might know?
I told her a few things about my work and then went to push my niece on the swing.
How did you get into that line of work? She asked. I took a few moments to share my story, and I’ll share it with you now, on the condition that you agree to do something for me. Agree? Good…
I’ve always written fiction, but not full-time, particularly in the early years. I wrote business communications, lots of employee and internal messaging. I have a degree in communications. I loved working with clients, learning their values, creating a voice for their stories, the easy and the hard messages. I worked in a large firm and then on my own. While working on my own, I had more flexibility to write. By that time I’d had several short stories published, had edited and written for an innovative and highly-read online magazine (lots of social media) and had served on the editing team for a literary journal. I’d also begun a novel…
Most of you have heard about the novel. It’s the story of Provençal winemakers during WW2. One of the characters eventually finds himself in 1970’s Napa. Can you imagine writing, accurately, about these topics — Provence, wine-making, French resistance, WW2, Mourvédre in Provence and California and Judgement of Paris-era Napa — without a lifetime of experience? No.
Well, guess what I did? I went out and got started on my lifetime of experience. I travel, talk to winemakers, research, read, taste wine, get interested, ask questions, take courses, ask for assignments.
And I finished the book.
In the meantime, I started a blog. A place for all the stories that weren’t part of the book, but were begging to be told. And you are here, reading the flotsam and jetsam, the assemblage, if you will, of my experience.
Thank you, for reading L’occasion. Thank you for sharing and asking to partner…thanks for asking questions and answering questions. This blog has been my way of learning, of passing on the bits that stay with me. I absolutely, with-a-blush, love to write and I love wine. I love this opportunity to make connections and tell stories. This is all about the story, always has been. The story of me begins with…the story. The story I continue to tell. I’m hellishly grateful for every bit of information that passes through me on the way to a reader. Thank you for being that reader. By the way, readers of this blog come from over 60 countries…what a way to make the world seem connected!
Here is where I ask something of you.
My blog, L’occasion, has been honored with two nominations in the Wine Blog Awards: Best Writing and Best Overall Blog. Would you cast your precious vote in my favor? And would you share on your social media so that others may learn of L’occasion too?
Before we move onto the voting page, there is something else. Provence is my spiritual home, the wines from there have been my inspiration to write since the first words hit the page (yes, I wrote the novel by hand, into notebooks) and when I was given the opportunity to be a columnist for Provence WineZine, I was thrilled. Would you believe me if I told you that Provence WineZine has been nominated in three categories too? Would you include Provence WineZine in your voting selection?
Here is where you vote: VOTE HERE
And for your vote, I leave you with this:
|Australian English||ta (informal)|
|Chinese, Cantonese||do jeh||daw-dyeh|
|Chinese, Mandarin||xie xie||syeh-syeh|
|Indonesian/Malayan||terima kasih||t’ree-ma kas-seh|
|Philippines (Tagalog)||salamat po||sah-lah-maht poh|
|Sri Lanka (Sinhak)||istutiy||isst-too-tee|
Chart credit: FactMonster