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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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2 Comments

  1. Kelley Clark's Gravatar Kelley Clark
    April 18, 2013    

    I have read Food Stories and recommend it for yourself or as a gift idea for any guy in your life who needs some help in the kitchen!

  2. Mary Langer Thompson's Gravatar Mary Langer Thompson
    April 27, 2013    

    I bought Food Stories as a gift for my son one Christmas. I think I need another copy for myself. Way to go, Denny!

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