Thursday, July 15, 2010

Conventional Wisdom

Conventions can be noisy places full of overdressed people rushing from one meeting to another.  But, that’s not what this post is about.

Conventions can also be the standard building blocks of specific activities in society.  They are markers of often unspoken rules.  Following those conventions ensures that we will be accepted within those social activities. 

Writing is an activity with many conventions arising from its various genres.  Genre-specific conventions are things like:
  • If you’re writing a mystery, you show the gun in the first few chapters and shoot someone by chapter seven. 
  • If you’re writing a romance novel, you show the woman’s passion for a man that she should not want but cannot live without though he might be cruel at times but he’s dashing with his torn shirt and down deep she knows that they will be together unless the Dread Pirate Livingston finds them, anyway you show all this in the romance novel by following the convention of the breathlessly ridiculous run-on sentence.
  • And if you’re writing a Star Trek episode, the landing party needs a few red shirts who can die on the planet’s surface. 

Conventions keep readers oriented, assuring them that they are on the right path. Food blogs, too, have conventions.  Thankfully, they are not too limiting, providing plenty of room for play.  “When Dad Cooks” follows many of these conventions, though there is one that this blog has yet to fully embrace.

Many food bloggers, I notice, refer to their spouses or significant others with an initial: “J”, “M” etc.  You might imagine Wilma Flintstone’s food blog with a post that begins: “I made F’s favorite Brontosaurus ribs last night, but I decided to surprise him by adding a sophisticated twist that I found on this Cro-Magnon blog…”

 If you thumb through the When Dad Cooks archive, you’ll see that my wife is a constant character in this blog.  The problem I have in following the convention, however, is that my wife is difficult to reduce to a single letter for a host of reasons.  Put another way: A fine wine cannot be understood by sampling a single grape. 

So, I have avoided the convention altogether.

I am pleased to announce the solving of this issue through a minor massaging of the convention.  My wife will be known in this blog as “BMW.”  At first blush, you will note the parallel with a certain German engineering company that promotes its own “excellence in design,” a parallel I find highly appropriate if you know what I mean (and if you know what I mean, insert your own joke here).

It is also a convention that can be tailored to certain situations.  For the vast majority of the time, BMW will stand for “Beautiful Marvelous Woman.”  She loves to bake, so there will be posts where “Bread Making Woman” will describe her talents.

Now, like any household navigating the complexity of contemporary living, things can get a little out of hand around here.  So, there will be times that BMW will stand for “Beware My Wife.”

No doubt there are moments in between that have yet to be conjugated.

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