Blogging and “The Reveal”

With the American Wine Blog Awards coming up soon, I've been thinking a great deal about the function of wine blogs. But today I've been thinking about their function not for the reader, but for the writer.

Jeff of The Good Grape blog notes in the comments section of this post of mine that he sees "a
thematic current running through your posts lately, similar to an
authors "period" whereby their mood imparts an imprint on their work,
unbeknownst to the author until some level of hindsight.

Jeff is a good observer.

Whether it's just Jeff who has noticed a melancholy tone of late in this blog or if it is others who have noticed it but not mentioned it, FERMENTATION has always been a vehicle for my own need to explore and express my mood and feelings. The connection to wine is always there. This is a blog about wine. But it's also a blog about me and my current disposition and what is personally affecting me. And it always will be.

For me, in the current case, the key is to let that state of melancholy or despair or disappointment or regret to somehow become a prism through which insight into wine and the wine business can be reflected. If I succeed at this, I actually find my own personal disposition and feelings tempered and lightened when I feel the weight of disenchantment enveloping me. But success can also mean heightening feelings of joy and delight that may have inspired a post.

Today this blog has a tempering effect on what is otherwise a radically depressing day for me. And I'm grateful that it functions in this way for me.

But, I think it's important for readers to imbibe from blogs (or any writing) with the kind of discerning eye that Jeff from the Good Grape brought to FERMENTATION today. If they do, I think it's likely that more layers than the  wordy surface will be revealed. These other layers may or may not be of interest to the reader. But without being willing to peel them back, I think we are likely to miss a few things.


8 Responses

  1. Lab Director, HR - January 29, 2009

    Sorry for your tough day. I find it helps to fire several staff when I’m down. Something about a stark reminder of the hierarchical nature of the world that helps me get through my days.
    Decadence is difficult to maintain when faced with authentic decay.
    Not surprising that the zeitgeist picks up on this.
    be well, J David

  2. Thomas Pellechia - January 30, 2009

    A while back I received an email from a reader who asked whether I had some sort of philosophical point to make that exceeded the subject of wine, as my most recent blog entry at the time seemed pensive.
    At first I was shocked. Then, I was not, since I assume always to be pensive. I realized that his email was a compliment, because it is the writer’s voice that matters.
    If you have no particular voice, it’s hard for others to hear you amidst the general cacophony.
    To take it further, if you try not to let your voice out when you write, the writing will suffer.

  3. mydailywine - January 30, 2009

    I thought the recent change of tone had more to do with your statement from a few weeks ago about Alice Feiring and the beauty of her writing.
    I assumed you were simply looking for your authentic voice, for your beauty.
    And the posts have indeed been lovely.

  4. Ron Washam, HMW - January 30, 2009

    Writing is always the loneliest task one does, but the creation of an authentic voice is what draws readers. My voice is intentionally berating and bizarre, and I’ve spent my entire life telling people that it’s simply my voice, it’s not really me. But we do fall in love with our voices and marvel at the place where the voice is created. We are all a mystery to our selves.
    Very few, incredibly few, wine blogs have any kind of identifiable style and voice, which is what makes most of them so dreary and dull. They are for the most part the attention barking of lonely poodles.
    You have an interesting voice, and having met you in person I know that it reflects who you are but is far from who you are in day to day life. That’s how a writing voice works. It hints at the complexity of the soul expressing it. And complexity, in wine and in writers, is what we seek.

  5. Jeff - January 30, 2009

    Well said. If you believe life is art, then it will be reflected in your words, your art.
    Lifelong Sonoma resident Charles Schulz knew this with his melancholy and real approach to writing Peanuts.
    Your transparency is refreshing and as Ron notes, you have a true and authentic voice.
    Best wishes from me as you grapple with life’s challenges. I’ve had them in abundance over the last two years, just in case misery loves company.
    All the best,

  6. Westoakland - January 30, 2009

    From out here, I see you reach deep – down to the bone at times. You come up honest, spirited and strong. Keep going.

  7. KenPayton - February 1, 2009


  8. Dylan - February 2, 2009

    Writers worth reading are the ones who find their emotion worth expressing. Life is a series of moments charged by its corresponding emotions. We relate to what we read and connect to it only in that we share this ability to feel what the writer feels or is asking us to feel. That’s the difference between empty words and meaningful thoughts.

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