Life is full of filters. We customize an image of ourselves daily that we want to portray to our colleagues, and we share the best of life while ignoring the worst when posting status updates to Facebook or Twitter. Blogging is no different, really, when we have a theme that we try to stick to. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately–that perceived need to stick to the content that is supposedly the reason that people read.
When I started Outside Oslo back in 2009, I thought of it mostly as a personal journal, made public and therefore something that I hoped that people would stumble upon and hopefully want to read. As people began to resonate with the posts and share their own stories about the connection between food, heritage, and family, I began to tighten my focus.
But when reading Ashley’s post today over at Not Without Salt–one in which she described a moment in her day, a quiet, beautiful moment savored amidst the chaos and clutter that comes with being a parent–I began to think about the filters that such a topic places on the writing that I do, and as a result the limited frame of reference that I share.
Life–my life, specifically, for the purpose of this post–is bigger than the meals cooked and the ethnicity of origin. Each day I find myself occupying positions of wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, cousin, niece, aunt, friend, writer, and any other role that comes into play.
There are days when my life as a wife are full of celebration as I watch my husband wrap up the final days of graduate school. There are days when I nurse a sick toddler back to health and kiss his forehead when he falls head-first onto the ground. There are days when I feel I’ll never catch up to the multiplying emails finding a semipermanent home in my inboxes (yes, inboxes). And there are the days when I feel–rightfully so–that there is not enough time to write the queries, articles, and blog posts that I want to write.
I shared a couple of weeks ago the struggle I was having with my writing life, the experience of having so many ideas and projects in the works that I was losing sight of my longterm objectives. From that, I momentarily lost my voice. In the effort to fill so many hats I found myself racing to stay on top of multiple missions at once, and as a result losing sight of where I have been headed all these weeks, months, and years. I am coming out of that, though, I am happy to report. I am confident of that. It’s nothing new for the writer, and nothing new for me. Back when I was a journalism student in college I knew it all too well. It happened again when I worked as a television news writer and producer. No matter what, I just kept writing. The difference between then and now, however, is the outlet that I have here at Outside Oslo. Here, I can simply write. I can process what’s going on in my head using the medium that often trips me up but that I also love so dearly: words. I read a while back that Molly Wizenberg founded Orangette as a way to practice writing and develop her voice. She wanted to be a food writer back then, if I remember the story correctly, and she used the blog as a place to practice, a place to write.
Too often lately I have been overly concerned with finding the right story to tell here at Outside Oslo, which has made the blog feel on occasion more like one of my assignments than a place that is an extension of my heart. I would like to change that. I would like to share more details of my days, more of the trials and errors I encounter as I seek to grow my skills as a recipe developer and photographer in addition to writer, and ultimately more of who I am as a person and an individual.
Scandinavian food–particularly the cuisine of Norway–is a passion of mine, but as I said, it’s only a slice of life. I’ll be writing about it for months and years into the future, both here and in other platforms. But I hope you’ll keep reading and stay involved and engaged as I expand my focus and share the bigger picture of life here at Outside Oslo. The food will remain “Scandi-centric,” but I would like to open up my life and my heart a little bit more and allow Outside Oslo to be a place where I can feel free to experiment as a writer at times and rest at others. Please continue to follow along and keep sending me comments and emails along the way. I truly love hearing from you. Thank you for reading.
Image originally shared at my other blog Nooks & Cranberries