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I Think My Fortune Cookie Is Trying To Mess With Me.

This weekend I’m starting a class about food writing and photography.

That is to say, I’m taking a class that’s going to show me the proper way to pull my iPhone out at a restaurant and snap a photo of my plate. Because apparently there’s a right way to do that, and the way I’ve been doing it since they stuck cameras inside phones is obviously completely wrong.

What do you think? Do these meatballs look appealing to you?

How about the crayfish? (For some reason these Instagram shots don’t show up in my post emails to you — so click here to go to my Instagram feed and take a look. The crayfish are calling you.)

Now that I’ve typed this out, I realize how completely ludicrous it sounds. When I signed up, I told myself I was doing it to improve my writing skills. (It will be, after all, the first professional development writing course I’ve ever taken.) But the real reason I’m doing it is to meet the local food connoisseur and prolific culinary author known throughout coastal Virginia and beyond who’s teaching the class so I can finally find out what it takes — what it really takes — to become an appealing social media personality.

I’m pretty sure the answer is someone dusting you with magical charisma sprinkles right after you’re born, but this is just to verify my suspicion.

Let’s also call it a last-ditch effort to distract myself from the real mountain I’m trying to climb, which is writing and publishing a novel. I’m still having a hard time swallowing the fact that I can’t be all of the things. I can’t, in one lifetime, become an accomplished chef, a world-renowned culinary travel writer, a famous portrait photographer, a prodigious architect, a cutthroat environmental lawyer, or an actual published author. At least not all at once. I have to pick one. And becoming a novelist is the only one I’ve consistently dreamed about since my dad brought home our first little Apple green screen word processor in the ’80’s.

(That, and beating Choplifter. Please tell me I wasn’t the only 6-year-old girl who preferred using a joystick to rescue POWs as a combat helicopter pilot over playing with baby dolls. It would make me feel less alone in the world.)


But when it comes down to it, if I have to choose, processing words is my thing. It’s just difficult to admit it when I keep trying — and failing miserably — to make a living from it.


This was no-joke my fortune a couple of weeks ago. So basically the Chinese fortune-makers in San Francisco want me to continue wasting my time. Enthusiastically.

They might as well say:


Worst fortune cookie ever.

At least in a true sense of poetic justice, a novelist really can be all of the things in a single lifetime — one character at a time. I keep bringing this up in order to hold myself accountable. So let’s do a little status check, shall we? When we last spoke of The Book, I was 14,600 words deep. Which is actually quite shallow, novel-wise. Still, I was feeling optimistic.


Words: 20,769

Feeling: Like the entire thing completely sucks and is totally boring.

I’m hoping that’s just a phase, but I suppose I have to make it through to find out.

And in the meantime I’ll keep working on the whole self-improvement thing by taking classes from people I secretly want to be. Because that’s healthy, right?

Also, in case you were worried, I think my mutt Capone is doing fine. The other weird scabby skin thing I had my eye on has gone away, and he still just has a little wound left where he had his surgical incision. Once that’s completely healed, I’ll find something else to worry about finally relax.

Oh, and if you were wondering what I look like while riding a CRAZY Swedish roller coaster in the rain, check out Expert Vegabond’s first post about our time in Gothenburg. I sincerely miss that city! Anyone want to go back with me?


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OHHH…I am excited about that class you are taking!!!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. The fortune cookie is hilarious!!! Love it! Sorry…but it is really funny. I will meet you in Sweden. :)


Deal on Sweden! I’ll even forgive your fortune cookie comment. ;)


I really remarked at how beautiful your food photos were while you were in Sweden and that was before your class – you are going to be on fire now!


Ha, thanks! I mostly did it for the excuse to try a new Norfolk restaurant every Sunday. :)

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