As I sit at my father’s office, ballpoint pen rammed aimlessly in my frizzy bun, notepad atop my flannel-covered thighs, I begin reading the three Meersman articles with an already-pending sense of dejection.
Having read an endless litany of boring and fiercely academic pieces for my other lecturers, I was fully expecting to do no more than half-heartedly peruse the long texts. It was only after I opened the first blog-post article by Meersman, in which he looked back on the restaurants that he had previously reviewed, that I realised that I was greatly mistaken and found myself wispering: “This man is an amazing writer.”
Now for a bit of background: Brent Meersman is a South African Political Novelist who has been working for the Mail and Guardian since 2003, writing review pieces on travel, literature, the arts and food. His food column, Once Bitten has been met with numerous successes and is particularly popular with the readers.
Meersman has lectured Arts Journalism at the University of Cape Town and has published many well-known novels. Furthermore, he was also the Editor of Cue, a Daily newspaper of the National Arts Festival.
In 2008, the Once Bitten baby was born.
As I read word after word of the Once Bitten blog, I realised that Brent had perfected what all writers long for: storytelling whilst silmuntaneously presenting the reader with facts.
Brent had reached Nirvana.
I felt my mouth water as I read his review on the Masala Dosa restaurant. Not only were his words colourful and descriptive as he retold his experiences with each of the five courses, he also added interesting photographs of each dish.
Even now as I write this, I feel my tummy rumbling as I picture the appetising Falooda and ice-cream, then again, I love food, so I might be slighly biased.
It was only his third article on why many African writers leave their respective countries to live abroad, that I found slightly tedious.
Instead of presenting the interview as the final piece, I feel that he could have shaped each question and answer into a well-versed story in order for the audience to make up their own minds on the findings of his investigation.
Above statement notwithstanding, Brent Meersman is certainly a wonderful writer who connects with the reader and makes them feel.