I read two blogs regularly: one written by my friend Lynn, a.k.a. Dr. Write
, a writer and teacher in Utah, and the other, by the snarky celebrity gossip maven Perez Hilton
. I know, I know. But sometimes a hit of crack really kick-starts the day.
I admire bloggers. I'm not confident enough to write so quickly and publicly. I don't write every day or even every week. I write in spurts and then I dwell. I wrote the first draft of my new novel manuscript pretty fast and then I didn't look at it for six months before working on it again. I say this because I have always felt a little anxious when I hear other people talk about writing and their discipline. I can finally admit that bingeing works for me. And even then, I don't enjoy it very much.
Last week, as a procrastination maneuver, I drove to Monroe, a small town in southern Wisconsin ? home of the mighty Cheesemakers ? to meet up with Jim Harris, the owner of the fabulous Prairie Lights
bookstore in Iowa City, and his friend Brooks Landon, chair of the English Department at Iowa. We spent a delightful afternoon at a place called Baumgartner's
, a cheese and beer institution on the square. I had a cheddar sandwich, which meant a thick slab of cheese between two pieces of bread. Jim went for the rank-smelling Limburger and Brooks and I had to move back from the table for some air. I learned that it's illegal to make Limburger in Wisconsin without a master cheesemaker's certification, so don't even think about it. The Chalet Cheese Co-op in Monroe is the only place in North America that makes it. And get this: the bacteria used to ferment the cheese is the same bacteria found on human skin that's responsible for body odor. Mmm.
Post cheese fiesta, I left Jim and Brooks on their way to the brewery in New Glarus, a town where everywhere you turn is a Swiss flag or a chalet. It turns out the boys were on the razzle too.
For all of you participating in National Novel Writing Month, sharpen your pencils.