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Um… What?

[one_half]What?
—Don Draper

My wife and I are cut from the same cloth in certain ways. We are both compelled by a desire to craft stories—through images, words, what we decide to show, emphasize, and hide. Sometimes they’re stories we have a personal need to tell, and doing so feels like opening a mental valve. Other stories need to be wrangled. At those times, it’s less clear what motivates us. What is it that we’re seeking? Amusement? Satisfaction? Praise?

Often, the primary audience for our stories consists of friends and family. People who, we assume, are predisposed to be interested in what we have to say. And yet, knowing this makes it no easier to release a story into the wild. The feeling is still one of being completely naked.

A photographer whose work I admire recently tweeted:

Yesterday, I felt like a fraud and failure. Today, people are sending inquiries and praising my work. Having a business is a roller-coaster. 

Similarly, Erin and I go through cycles of feeling good about our work, and subsequently feeling foolish for even trying. I suspect that for many people who express themselves creatively, that cycle never really ends. But once in a while, we get a bit of a nudge from someone who reassures us that maybe we’re on the right track. A comment, an email, or simply an acknowledgment from someplace we didn’t expect. For me, it might come from a reader I’ve never met, or an old friend who I had no idea was actually reading the blog. There are times when a one-line note has allowed me to exhale and breathe for the first time in weeks.

Recently, we got such a nudge. We have been notified by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) that our website has been nominated as a finalist for a Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism in the Blog category. I cannot begin to express the honor and utter surprise that I feel even to be considered among fellow nominees Hank Shaw and Barry Estabrook. I attended Hank’s writing seminar at BlogHer Food last year, and met him briefly over breakfast. He’s a wonderful writer, and down-to-earth guy. Barry Estabrook I’ve never met personally, but, you know, the guy’s also been nominated for a bazillion other things. I’m looking forward to seeing both of them in Austin in June.

I’m well aware that acknowledgment in this form doesn’t last forever. But today, it feels nice. And I feel a tremendous gratitude to all of you, without whom this blog would not have a reason to exist. So, in case I haven’t told you this enough recently, Thanks.

I can’t wait to share another year with you.

-Ben [/one_half]

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