Saturday, March 17, 2012

Writing of Niceness - by & about Marilyn Hagerty

There was an interesting piece published earlier this month in a North Dakota newspaper earlier this month that had an absolutely fascinating reaction to it... with that reaction yielding some other interesting writing.

The piece itself was "Long-awaited Olive Garden Receives Warm Welcome" and the restaurant review from 85 year-old Grand Forks Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty went viral on the Internet due to its earnest and seemingly small town take on the new Olive Garden. The review was humorous for this reason, but what really struck me was this concept of earnest and what a few other writers had to say about it in relation to Hagerty.

Two pieces that came from writers I follow were "In Web world, can we be sincere and cool, too?" by Tommy Tomlinson for the Charlotte Observer and "The Olive Garden" on the personal log of Joe Posnanski. The pieces were each written out of an Olive Garden meal the two friends shared and both expressed well an admiration for writing by Hagerty that was plain-spoken, but more to the point... devoid of sarcasm, biting irony or other vehicles of excessive critique. Posnanski's blog post was the longer of the two pieces and included a great vignette about him spending time with his daughters at Disney World and how it is that age tends to bring out the cynical in people. Really cool content that reminded me of a different Joe Posnanski blog post "Katie The Prefect" on an experience his daughter had at Harry Potter World and how great it is to still be young and excited by things.

A third recent and related piece was from her son, James Hagerty, a Wall Street Journal writer. "When Mom Goes Viral" provided more detail around someone writing what they felt and having that authenticity be the driver of their work. While on the path of "writing this story brought to mind", I also thought of an excellent interview with Dave Eggers where the author wrote about the import of doing things of interest without getting caught up in worrying about how outsiders will react to or judge your efforts.