Monday, September 8, 2008
Hello, I’m Jonathan Dixon. I was conceived in Brooklyn and raised in New Hampshire. I’ve lived the past 16 years in New York City. I am currently living in Malden-On-Hudson, a hamlet of Saugerties in upstate New York. The Band used to live in Saugerties, and they recorded The Basement Tapes with Bob Dylan about five miles up the road. In my world, that’s a pretty big deal.
I’m old enough so that I really have no business being enrolled in cooking school, but, nonetheless, I am in my third month of classes at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). I applied without thinking much of being accepted. I got in and was offered an exceptionally generous aid package. So, I made a decision.
I used to have a semblance of a career, one I pursued half-heartedly. I was a staff writer for Martha Stewart. Overlapping with Martha, I taught lit and creative writing classes at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and 101-type English classes at the now-defunct Interboro Institute in Manhattan. For a period, I supported myself writing about music, movies, and books, mostly for the Boston Phoenix, a few times for New York Newsday, and, for one brief moment when I was a whelp, for the New York Times. I have an MFA in creative writing, and two novels essentially completed. One of the novels makes me want to piss myself in embarrassment. The other is in its third draft.
I believe that if you have an experience, one that just by its very nature is going to exert some kind of transformational pull on you, it should be documented. I think the CIA is one of those types of experiences, and the purpose of this journal is to document it.
Just a note: There are three principle players in this exegesis: myself; Nelly Reifler, a writer of fiction and my girlfriend of several years; and the Culinary Institute. No one at CIA will be identified by name, unless they are a public figure. An example of a public figure might be Tim Ryan, the president of the school. But with the exception of an early entry, I suspect there won’t be much to say about him. The other students and instructors will be named pseudonymously. It just doesn’t seem particularly fair, otherwise.