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Unorthodox Writing Tips 11: Try Somewhere New

I’m a curious person. I like to try new things and I’ve never shied away from trying something different. Earlier in the week I needed to take my favorite daughter to 7-11 to get a snack (old mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and the cupboard was bare).

In the same little strip mall is a sweet shop, Pistachios. For us this has been an ongoing joke. I want to say they’ve been setting the place up for a few months now and we’re trying to figure out when they’ll open the place. We put ourĀ  faces up against the glass and peeked inside. There were some lights on the left side of the store wall that look like they will hold signage and a nice look counter behind which are some shelves with a few bags of pistachios and a couple boxes of candy. That’s about it. It looks bare, but I’m hopeful it’ll be filled with good things to be had by all.

Walking from Pistachios to 7-11 is the Rancho Market and Bakery. Now I’ve only been in the area for a few months and I’ve seen it dozens of times. I kept telling myself I needed to actually go inside and look around. I figured, why not teach my favorite daughter not to be afraid of going into a new place. I diverted my steps and went inside.

“Papi? Where are you going?”

Let me interject here. I have a tendency to walk astray just to confuse my favorite daughter. It’s funny most of the time and sometimes I do what I did on this day. I didn’t say anything, I just entered the store.

Inside standing next to the fresh fruit was a group of men. They could have been Greek, the could have been Arabic, I didn’t know. They just had that swarthy complexion that I’ve always associated with the Mediterranean. Now I was even more interested. Sure the Market and Bakery was located in Rancho San Diego and I expected it to be run by Mexicans, so I was a little surprised.

Inside I found a great selection of fresh cheeses I hadn’t seen before and a large number of dairy products. Even a great selection of salamis and meats. I still had no idea of the nationality of the products displayed. I didn’t talk to anyone until I reached the dessert section. I’m a BIG fan of desserts. Each looked amazing. I had to ask.

“What type of desserts are these?”


Ok, I’ve seen baklava before. He wasn’t going to get away with that simple of an answer.

“This doesn’t look like Greek baklava.”

“This is middle-eastern baklava. In Lebanon we have over 150 varieties of baklava.”

Okay, now I was really in new territory. My favorite daughter kept picking out ones to buy, the man gave me a 5 minute lesson about baklava, and $8 we were out of the store. I went back the next day and bought $5 more. I know I’ll be going back again and I’ll be trying more than just the baklava.

What did I learn? I learnedĀ  lot more than just what kinds of baklava are available. It’s something I’ve know and try to put to practice.

1) Don’t be afraid to walk into a store and talk to the proprietor

2) Don’t be afraid to try something new be it food, a book, a new sport, anything.

3) Be opened minded with the experience.

4) Seek out opportunity, don’t just run into them by accident.

Do I think baklava will make it into my writing? Probably not. But one thing I’ve heard over and over with writing advice, write what you know. If you limit yourself a little box you’ll only ever be able to write about that same little box. The more you allow yourself to experience the more flavor you’ll add to your writing. Get out there. Try somewhere new. You’ll thank yourself one day.

Until next time!