Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

High Desert Food Writer Denny Stanz Tells How He Learned the Art of Writing

By Guest Blogger Denny Stanz

When I was in elementary school, I became fascinated by “Composition Class.” I was intimidated by the idea of trying to put words together and then being judged. But I was also excited by this very same idea, because it gave me an opportunity to use my imagination. Did I just pull words out of thin air? Where did the words come from? I had no clue. I still don’t.
This is the basic, elemental fascination I have with the art of writing.
Several years ago, I became obsessed with the idea of writing something that a publisher would deem worthy of being published. I did not know what that something should be. I wrote down on a piece of paper the things in life that I loved to do or felt I was good at. I looked at the list and two items stood out –  I loved being a father, and I loved to cook. My thoughts drifted back to the days when I became a single dad with a 7 year old daughter. I recalled all the responsibility I had, my fears, my concerns. But I smiled to myself as I remembered collecting recipes from my mother and grandmother so I could learn how to cook and provide good home cooked meals for my daughter. I thought about the different situations that arose where I found myself cooking meals for other people. A light bulb flashed in my head. I would write little stories describing these situations and then provide a recipe at the end. A storybook wrapped around a cookbook. Through these stories, I would teach men that cooking a meal was easy, no big deal. I would take away the intimidation factor. I would teach them that it was a gratifying experience that would bring them closer to the people they cared about.
Food Stories, my first published book, was born!
A few years ago I joined the High Desert Writers Club. I have learned a lot. I learned to accept criticism of my writing and I learned how to expand my writing skills. I learned how to get out of my box and be open to writing things I would not have done on my own. I am writing children’s stories and short story mysteries. I am working on a series of short stories where I have a dinner conversation with a historical figure or someone who is no longer alive.
When I wrote Food StoriesI had no idea what I was doing. I was just driven to do it. I wrote in a vacuum. Ignorance was bliss! I made loads of mistakes. But it lead me to today. Thankfully.
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