Sunday, April 20, 2008

Down the Shore with...Amy Z. Quinn

I'm quite pleased to have Amy Z. Quinn a.k.a Citizen Mom on the blog today. She was the first person ever to link to Down the Shore with Jen back in July. She gives us her piece of mind at Citizen Mom, and she's writing about the election as Confetti Betti here.

And, of course, she's a shore fan. She was even there this weekend (as proven by the picture, which was taken in Ferry Beach in North Cape May). So let's go Down the Shore with Amy!

1. What do you consider 'your' shore town and why?
Wildwood, no question. I love the entire island, from Diamond Beach to Anglesea, but my heart lives right there in the center of the city. Until a few years ago, my parents owned a big house on Pine Avenue (up the block from the Fireman's Tavern) and I basically grew up on its wraparound porch. It had three little cottages behind the house, and when we were teenagers, it was Senior Week central. Don't tell my kid about that last part.

2. A lot of people go to the shore to eat eat eat. Where is one spot you always visit?
Well, this afternoon I had my first slice of Mack's pizza for the season. It was like the reward for making it through that long, drab winter we just had. Marie (the gray-haired lady, aka "Mrs. Mack") wasn't there -- she's been behind that counter forever and for a second, I feared the worst -- but the waitress assured me the old lady'd be back by the end of the month. So all's right with the world.

Other than that, I love dinner at Henry's on the beach in Cape May and breakfast at the Vegas diner in North Wildwood.

3. The Wildwoods boardwalk was overlooked in a recent ranking of United States boardwalks. What gives?
I think the Wildwoods as a whole are in a time of real transition and there are a lot of things conspiring in their favor right now. Without getting too schmaltzy, I'll say that there's a really alive feeling there these days that wasn't there for a while. For so many years, you couldn't read a story about the Wildwoods or the boardwalk that didn't contain the words "tacky" or "honky-tonk" or some other sort of backhanded insult.

And when gas was cheap and people had money, it was easy to overlook Wildwood in favor of someplace like Florida, or the Outer Banks. I think we'll see that continue to change as people are forced to take more "stay-cations," keeping closer to home.

4. How long have you been blogging?
Since August 2004, which makes me about 73 in blog years.

5. Why did you start?
I resisted it for a while, actually. Coming from newspapers it took me a while to be comfortable writing in my own voice, but at a certain point you realize it's like being a columnist without an editor -- which I think is a secret wish of every journalist.

6. What interesting places has your blog taken you?
It's more about the interesting people it's brought me in contact with -- everyone from Perez Hilton to Michelle Obama. I've made good friends and seen a lot of good bands.

7. Any advice for this still newbie blogger?
Like the book says, just take it bird by bird. Be a ruthless self-editor. Resist the urge to take yourself too seriously, even if you decide to make a business out of your blog. Most importantly, be aware of the difference between writing in the first person and writing about yourself. It's the difference between indulging yourself as a writer and just being self-indulgent.

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