Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Food for thought

by Josh


So in grad school I wrote a three-act play (Pop Apocalypse) which set Shakespeare's Othello on Madison Avenue and flipped racism for sexism. I wrote it over the course of a summer and I wrote it fueled primarily by Reese's peanut butter cups and Sprite. You know, just like Shakespeare.

A few years later, I moved to New York City and became poor so I wrote a screenplay (Windfall) about a young, poor couple who agree to become cold-blooded murderers in exchange for promised compensation. I wrote it over the course of a summer and I wrote it fueled primarily by Three Musketeers and Duane Reade brand apple juice.


Shortly after that, my parents divorced, but post hoc ergo propter hoc (I assume). In reaction to my parents' divorce, I wrote a comedy (Arabella's Little Secret) about a man who is going through a messy breakup so he crashes at his daughter's apartment, unaware that she is a call girl. Not being a call girl myself, I decided that the extent of my research would entail the consumption of many, many bite-size Hershey bars.


The divorce left my father feeling quite lonely, so I moved down to Atlanta to live with him and, shortly thereafter, he fell in love with a delightful woman from faraway Minnesota whom he met on Jdate.com. Promptly, I wrote a novel (Nuclear Winter Wonderland) about a college student who travels across the country to find his kidnapped sister and, in his desperate travels, he falls in love with a delightful woman from faraway Nevada. As my father liked to stock his pantry with Little Debbie snack cakes, I would have been a bad son if I had not helped him eat them, and so I helped him eat them and, as a karmic reward, the novel practically wrote itself.


As I still missed New York City, I wrote a novel (While Galileo Preys - which comes out next week!) about a woman who abandons her dream for the sake of those she loves. This time, though, I'd stumbled upon a culinary muse that rivaled Reese's and Three Musketeers and Hershey and Little Debbie. I'd discovered my Grail. I'd discovered Publix brownies. And it is Publix brownies which have been my arteries' constant companions as I've gone on to write two-and-a-half more novels.


For those unfamiliar with Publix and their brownies (and I feel such pity for your deprivation), Publix is a supermarket chain located in the South. It specializes in high-end groceries and deli, and offers extraordinary fresh-baked goods. Their handmade brownies are sold in hefty slabs which are divided into eight portions. They come with or without nuts. Each brownie contains 250 calories and each calorie is richer than Ritchie.


I was going to upload a photograph of the one remaining brownie in my refrigerator but, well, I needed to eat something to write this post.

19 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

OK I probably shouldn't admit this but I want to be your roommate. I want to live in new york city with you (once my kids go off to college) and I'll even do all the cooking. whenever I'm stuck for ideas, I'm just going to holler down the hall "Hey what're you working on???" and you'll tell me your latest crazy story and I'll be like "oh yeah....*that's* how it's done" and off I'll go.

Michael Wiley said...

All right, I live in the South, less than five miles from three separate Publix stores. I'm teaching today until 9:00 p.m., but you can guess where I'm heading on my way home. And if the first store is out of brownies, maybe the second or third will have them.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I'm seeing a theme of chocolate here, not surprisingly. And I liked how you had a different food for each book (until you were seduced by the Publix brownies). Some people use different sound tracks, but I like your idea better.

So, which chocolate (no wheat, so sadly those brownies are out) says IFRANKENSTEIN? Which one says A CITY OF BROKEN GLASS? I need to write them both practically at the same time, so I think I can also eat the chocolates at the same time too. Ideas?

Shane Gericke said...

Tragedy and sugar ... the two major food groups for certain Joshian success! Funny stuff. I pig out on handfuls of those teensy Hershey's chocolate chips when the Muse needs resuscitatin'.

Mounds bars, Rebecca. The coconut is like Frankenstein's hair. If Frankie has hair ... it could be painted on, can't tell from black-and-white TV.

Shane Gericke said...

Oh, and been to Publix while in Florida. BBQ section is terrific, too. Nothing like it in Chicagoland food chains.

Meredith Cole said...

I live in the south (but I guess not far enough south for Publix). Sigh. I miss Trader Joe's keenly, myself. The chocolate toffee with pistachios got me through many drafts...

Joshua Corin said...

Sophie, you had me at "I'll even do all the cooking."

I once tried to reheat soup that was in a plastic bowl by putting the plastic bowl of soup on a stovetop burner and setting it to high heat.

Just spend a day with me and watch me flummox through life and you'll have all the inspiration you will need - if you're writing a comedy. =)

Joshua Corin said...

Michael, there are three separate Publix within a five mile radius of your home? My God, man, that's ground zero for fresh produce. How do you manage?

Joshua Corin said...

Becky, I would recommend a hybrid chocolate, like a Reese's peanut butter cup, because

A) With all apologies to the Prius, Frank's monster was the first real hybrid and

B) the chocolate should serve you well for kristallnacht (even though German chocolate cake is named after a guy whose last name was, literally, "German") and the peanut butter should serve you well for IFRANK, because I like to imagine the Monster singing this: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/song/song-596.asp

Joshua Corin said...

Shane, those tiny chocolate chips are very, very tasty. I hear some people actually save them for baking. Silly people.

Joshua Corin said...

Trader Joe's is amazing, Meredith! I got bananas the other day for .19/lbs. That's so insane even I ate them (despite the fact that they're nutritious).

Janet Rudolph said...

The worlds of chocolate and mystery collide all the time. That's why I blog about both. However, I don't know Publix Brownies. Should I? Never met a brownie I didn't like.

Loved your post!

Joshua Corin said...

Janet, you've never met a brownie until you've met a Publix brownie. The fudge is moist, the frosting is sweet, the size is perfect...and I need to buy more right now.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I knew you'd know, Josh! Heading over to listen to Frankenstein's song.

Graham Brown said...

Sophie is right - feeling great imagination envy right now. Also, just wondering if eating Publix brownies effex your spelling abilitix???

Joshua Corin said...

Lol@Graham

Jeannie Holmes said...

Publix is awesome, dude! I wish we had one here in Mobile, but alas, I must settle for Fresh Market. They have good brownies, but nothing like Publix.

Oh hai, Graham. Pulix efecks ur abilitees 2 spel. Oh yes. Ware U tink LOLcats comed frum? Kthxbai.

Gabi said...

I didn't know that about Shakespeare. You're blog is so educational, Josh. And like Sophie, I think I could benefit from the writing jet propulsion provided by proximity to your pantry.

Kelli Stanley said...

Firstly: BOOK LAUNCH NEXT WEEK!!! :)

Secondly: those brownies sound like one of the seven deadly sins. I've got room for a few more (sins, that is), so am counting on swapping any Trader Joe's treats you desire for Publix brownies next time I see you.

Yes ... it's the "Junk Food for Writers" exchange!! ;)

xoxo