From My Library: Vol. 3

I’m leaving Bangkok for a short vacation in Germany in less than 24 hours as I’m writing this. I haven’t exactly packed, meaning I have stuff on my bed I still need to put in a suitcase. But I’ve cooked and polished everything in the fridge that needed to be cooked, except for milk, which I will have later with some Oreo cookies. There’s nothing like milk and cookies when you’re stressed and needing a little comfort.

On Writing Well
Yesterday, I started reading William Zinsser’s classic On Writing Well again. I bought the book a couple of years ago but never finished reading it. It’s one of those books that make me want to kick myself for not having read earlier in my career. But then again, being a pigheaded, hotheaded young writer who only wants to break rules and write in a way that no one has ever written before is a normal part of the journey of a lot of writers. I could quote the entire eight chapters that I’ve read for you here, because it’s that good, but I’m not insane. These sentences, however, speak to me as someone who always wants to write that amazing article with a grand statement but ends up abandoning it because it gets too big in my head. And in a way, blogging has been teaching me this lesson over and over again:

“Tolstoy couldn’t write a book about war and peace, or Melville a book about whaling. They made certain reductive decisions about time and place and about individual characters in that time and place—one man pursuing one whale. Every writing project must be reduced before you start to write.

Therefore think small. Decide what corner of your subject you’re going to bite off, and be content to cover it well and stop.”

About Native American Food Systems
I’m a big fan of National Geographic’s Instagram account. The photos are always amazing, of course, but I also love the texts written by their photographers and filmmakers, some of whose accounts I follow. They are always fascinating. These photographers and filmmakers’ works open up another world for me. A world way beyond the urban lifestyle and food and the arts that I’m usually consumed with—the nature, the wild, the Great Outdoors—but a world all of us are closely connected to even when we think otherwise. I love reading about how the seals, penguins and polar bears (their pictures are also super cute) are being affected by climate change as much as I love looking at pictures of the aurora borealis or a video of a husky running on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Passionate photographers and filmmakers Renan Ozturk and Taylor Rees (they are husband and wife and human parents of the husky on the Salt Flats) are working with documentary filmmaker Sanjay Rawal (Food Chains) about the Native American food systems and sovereignty. I’m really curious about this film and can’t wait to see it. You can get a glimpse of it here.

This post by Ozturk on the same subject talks a bit about the Apache tribe and their foraging tradition. I also found an episode about Native American and foraging on a podcast called Native America Calling (a great program). I haven’t had time to listen to it, but you can find it here.

Once again, I’d love to hear from you—recommendations, comments, suggestions, rants, love… Have a great rest of the week and an even better weekend!