Interview and Photography Michael Mundy
I first met DVEIGHT’s Editor-at-Large, Laura Silverman, three years ago. Laura’s porcelain skin and silver mane are a photographer’s dream. I contacted Laura hoping to somehow shoot a portrait of her. Little did I know then that she was a brilliant writer with a successful blog called Glutton for Life. I can’t help but admire a woman who proudly wears a full head of silver hair at an early age. To me, it speaks of a confidence and self awareness I find incredibly beautiful. Laura is one of these women. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit.
Michael: Let’s start with your blog, Glutton for Life. Can you tell me a little about it?
Laura: It’s something I started when I left New York City to live full-time in the country in Sullivan County. At the time, I had a real creative renaissance, living in nature, being outside a lot and working from home. I really connected to living very fully in a different way. It was an incentive for starting a blog about this life. The tagline for my blog is, ‘truly shameless indulgence.’ I wanted to reclaim the idea of gluttony and have it be about embracing (and having a big appetite for) all the really great things in life.
Michael: What inspires your writing and blog?
Laura: I’m inspired by so many things–living in nature is a huge part of it; having a garden is a huge part of it. Cooking everyday. There’s really no shortage of ideas. I can be inspired by everything from traveling somewhere to a foreign country and experiencing a new culture to some personal issue that I’m experiencing and want to share with other people.
Laura: It’s strange because I never started out to have the kind of blog that sort of is a diary or confessional. Mine was intended to be more entertaining and informative. But people really respond to very personal musings. I think there’s a kind of connection that people are looking for online, where they want to get behind the veneer a little bit. So while I have essentially a lifestyle blog, that deals with health, travel, home, design, cooking, eating, forging out in the wild and gardening, it is also about me to some extent. That personal perspective I guess is what is really differentiating for people.
Michael: You open yourself up, and people really respond to that.
Laura: I’m really surprised by that. I’m surprised by how touched people can be by your vulnerability. I think that, in a world where most of our connections are virtual, anything that smacks of truth and reality is very compelling.
Michael: I was always very moved by Joan Didion’s writings and how personal it was. Whatever she wrote about, it was clearly through her eyes. Even when she was writing a journalistic piece for a magazine, you always felt her in everything. You’re seeing it through her eyes and feeling it through her emotions. There is something wonderful about that. You’re grateful that someone is willing to be that vulnerable and open themselves up. So I think it makes sense that people appreciate that.
Laura: There’s a tension in that though for me because I don’t really want my blog to be about that. And yet I see that that’s where people really respond. And so, I have to strike a kind of balance.
Michael: But as a writer, isn’t that the ultimate goal, to bring all that out?
Laura: Yes, I mean as a writer, you do want to touch on and explore the essential truth of humanity. But whether or not you want to be doing it from your own personal experience versus something more observational, it’s a question.
Michael: Oddly enough, I find that online experiences have to be heartfelt and true. People have enormous bullshit detectors. The minute they smell a rat, they just bounce. So I think that’s why I’ve always made it a point to try to be as straightforward and upfront as possible without any sort of veneer.
Laura: I’ve had an issue that I have struggled with a little bit all my life, which is that people seem to find me intimidating; and I have had a hard time understanding that. I think that partially it maybe because I don’t reveal all the weaknesses and vulnerability that I have. I just was raised to project a different sort of confidence. And so, I think that people want to see that and can relate to you more when you’re not just showing the perfect parts.
Michael: You draw inspiration from obviously your day-to-day life. Are there any people or personas that directly influence your project?
Laura: I’m inspired by so many kinds of people from so many different walks of life. I’m inspired by the dancer, Tricia Brown. I’m inspired by Alice Waters. I’m inspired by my readers – who tell me what they’re interested in and their own struggles and desires. I’m inspired by art. I’m inspired by nature. I’m inspired by my garden and finding so many lessons about life, and lessons about what I can cook and eat. I’m inspired by going out into the woods and seeing death and birth. Nature holds everything. As you start to live in it and observe it and experience the seasons, it reveals a lot that inspires every part of life.
Michael: What is it that drives you to communicate?
Laura: I think, as you get older, you acquire something akin to wisdom, at least knowledge. You can more strongly identify your passions. All of that adds up to a desire to share what you know, learn and love with other people, and to that way learn more through other people. It just feeds your passion and your knowledge and keeps you curious about the world.
Michael: Where do you see Glutton for Life going?
Laura: I think the blog has its own momentum. It’s a labor of love, so if it doesn’t “go anywhere,” I’m still going to be happy with it. It’s self-perpetuating but I could imagine writing a book, maybe even a TV show. Who knows, opportunities are welcomed.
This story was originally posted on An Afternoon With…