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  • Chloé Dutschke

Dusting Off A Few Things

In 2012 I wrote a series of articles for the honours component of my writing degree. While I finished my course work and a draft of my thesis, I never submitted the thing. I had a bad case of glandular fever, and with two (useless?) degrees under my belt plus a full-time job in an industry I loved, I couldn’t muster the care to complete it. Before I abandoned it, however, I wrote a series of blogs about local food and wine places in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills region. I want to dust off some of those writings as a way of, firstly, reacquainting myself writing, and secondly, to highlight some brands and places that continue to thrive, and need to be on your radar if they’re not already.

Everyone can write. Some better than others. I used to be OK at it, but for the most part of the last 8+ years, my writing has been mostly for the brands I’ve been employed by, and usually (not always) with some kind of conversion metric attached. There’s something different about writing for yourself. Save for the occasional dishy long-form iMessage, I don’t work that muscle much these days. But now I must. I have wide-eyed little dreams about future projects and to get there, I need to pick up the pen again. 

Back to this abandoned thesis. Much to my mother’s disgust, I left the thesis at 85% completion. Though, interestingly, the one I still feel I disappointed the most was my supervising professor, Claire Woods. Gosh, what a woman. She opened my eyes to a seductive writing genre I knew little of in theory, but already loved in practice. I was exploring Creative Nonfiction; creative writing techniques applied to factual events. To me, it’s the most seductive genre of all.

The unpinning philosophy of the old blog, and indeed the research I was doing at the time, was to explore the idea of binge culture in Gen Y, and how our binging often meant bypassing the romance of enjoying food, wine, and experience in a savoured and meaningful way. This was something of interest to a gal in her early-twenties in the early 10s. And as much as I still engage in the occasional binge (COVID-19 has not helped this), I subscribe to this philosophy for the most part: quality over quantity. Excellent sips over glugs of mediocre. Fewer, better things. I don't care to just like it; I want to love it.

18 months ago, on a whim, I bought a palm tree. There was a corner of my balcony that needed height, and this was the tallest plant at Hawthorn Bunnings that could possibly fit in my '06 Honda. I knew as soon as I had it home it was not what I wanted. I’m not tropical, you see. The slightest damp whisper of humidity and my extremities inflate. I also have a distaste for and distrust of things (and often people) that are too skinny. Palm tree was not only too tropical, it was too skinny. So I watched on, month after month, willing it to die. It did and then cut it up with my handsaw and shoved it into the communal rubbish shoot. The moral of the story being, I don’t like things I don’t love. And if somehow I find myself compromising, the truth will soon soon make itself known, and I’ll find myself hacking up a 2-metre palm tree on my balcony in front of the smokers on Level 6. 

The same philosophy I was championing in writing these blog articles 8+ years ago is the one I still champion. Does that food bring you joy? Does that plant bring you joy? Does that experience bring you joy? No? Perhaps forego it and instead opt for something that’s soul-soaringly good and decent and delicious. That’s what I live for. Perhaps you do too.

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