Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writing with Chocolate-Covered Crutches

by Tracy

I have a writer friend who swears that during bouts of writer’s block her body goes into a weird kind of trance and wanders around the house rummaging for food without her being consciously aware of it.

To be fair, she’s always been a bit off.

However, I recently read a quote from one Roy Blount, Jr. that said, “I think writer's block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down at the keys long enough, sooner or later something will come out."

I think old Roy is right. Writing is a job and you have to take that job seriously. You need to sit down and do your job. You write and then revise and then…

(Mmmm…what is in the cupboards this morning? Cheerios? Naw. Oatmeal? God, is that stuff even still good? Does oatmeal go bad? Hey! Frosted Flakes! Score!)

Where was I? Oh, yes! Writing. As you know our topic this week is comfort food’s role in the writing process. Now if I had to pick my all-time favorite “food” to help crank up the creative juices, it would have to be peanut M&Ms.

Really, how perfect are they? A peanut with a candy coating. Simply brilliant. As you know, health experts say that nuts are good for your heart. Or is that red wine? Whatever. I know they’re supposed to be good for you on some level.

However, theses little gems are not in our house right now because I’m on a health kick and have trained myself to make do without.

(Hey! Weren’t there some peanut M&Ms in the back of that desk drawer? Crap. Who left all these empty wrappers in here? Oh, well. What’s that in the Tupperware bin? Oh, last’s night spaghetti sauce. Should I heat it up? It’s not bad cold. It’s not great, but heating it up will turn it into a meal and I’m just browsing here.)

That’s weird. There’s spaghetti sauce on my pants. How did that get there? Anyway, my current comfort when writing is Diet Coke. It’s cold and fizzy and more importantly, loaded with caffeine. It’s also the perfect pallet compliment to the above mentioned peanut M&Ms, but as I may have mentioned, WE DON’T HAVE ANY. Not that I’m bitter. After all, I have willpower.

(Oh, wait! Are there any in that stash box in my son’s closet? The one he doesn’t know that I know about? Damn it! It’s empty. What kid doesn’t keep his stupid stash box full?)

Therefore, because I am a focused writer on a health kick, I just rely on Diet Coke and perseverance to see me through the day. It’s really just a matter of self-discipline.

(Hey! We have ice cream? Who bought ice cream? Yum! Chocolate fudge chip – nice! Just let me dig out all the chips here and then smush it back down so doesn’t look like I used a leaf blower to eat it…)


Meredith Cole said...

Too funny, Tracy... It's amazing how sitting at your desk can make you work up an appetite! All that thinking. Today I have some trail mix stashed in my desk drawer (which has chocolate chips in it--I just love health food!) to keep my brain humming along.

Sophie Littlefield said...

For the longest time I kept Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips around and nibbled on them throughout the day. It was just a handful here and there so I thought it wasn't really an issue - until i realized that whenever safeway had them on sale I was buying *six* bags at a time. !!!! Now I'm trying to convince myself that almonds are just as good. cause of, you know, all those antioxidents and whatever.


TracyK said...

Yeah, I've been trying the almond route myself.

It's not the same, is it?

Bridget said...

They have almond M&M's, so in case your antioxidant levels got too high, perhaps the chocolate candy shell would balance it all out.

Graham Brown said...

Great post Tracy, I have only one question: How do you know, that he dosen't know, that you know about the stash box? Maybe he knows that you know and that's why the stash box is empty.

TracyK said...

I know that he doesn't know that I know because I am partly responsible for its current condition. Which is empty.

No, I'm not proud.

Lynn said...

Funny post! My kitchen is the Bermuda Triangle. I go in to refill my water glass and find myself 10 minutes later digging in the cupboard for a little somethin'. How does that happen?

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Great post, Tracy! I love your inner voice that leads to the kitchen. I have one of those myself. Keeps me writing in cafes, where at least the snacks are so expensive I have to think twice about it.

Sophie, I know what mean! I've taken to snacking on pecans, because they are the sweetest of all the nuts and I can pretend that I filched them from a pie.

TracyK said...

I think if I tried to write in a cafe, I'd just have a bigger... credit card bill.

Joshua Corin said...

I used to hate peanut M&Ms. I used to hate them-hate them-hate them. My hatred was, like most hatred, utterly irrational.

And then one day I fell in love with them. OK, maybe "love" is too extreme a word. But I definitely have learned to appreciate what they have to offer.

Although nothing compares to the mint M&Ms that appear around the holidays. Mmm.

Jeannie Holmes said...

Hey, what's this on my desk? It's a bag of peanut M&Ms! They really are the perfect food. Portable. Sweet. Crunchy. And peanuts are a good source of they're healthy.

Yes, I'm a true Southerner. I can justify anything. :)

Shane Gericke said...

So that's why I get hungry for food while writing ... I'm burning up calories thinking! I admire the way you think, Tracy,

I love peanut butter M&Ms. After that, the classic M&M. Never could warm up to peanut or almond, though. Go to M&M World in Las Vegas and you'll have a coronary gazing at the 20-foot clear tubes of M&Ms in all their Crayola colors, ready for you to buy.

Gabi said...

Roy Blount makes writer's block sound like constipation. I think he's right.

You're the first person besides myself who has noticed the delicate compliment Diet Coke is to peanut M&Ms. But you really have to think about what's best for you and the world. Buy the big bag. Fewer wrappers. Better for the planet. Practically a sacrifice on your part and totally keeping with a "do better" plan.

Kelli Stanley said...

Great post, Tracy! :) Perfect characterization of the need for refreshment after killing people all day.

My inner voice has been leading me to a bakery in South San Francisco of late--it's 100 years old and is run by the fifth generation of the same family. Galli's Sanitary Bakery (yup, that's what they called good bakeries back in 1910).

Homemade Florentine canoli with chocolate hazelnut creme.

Worth a trip to SF, y'all! ;)