Monday, February 11, 2008

Tasty Thoughts

Seeing as how I've been insatiably hungry lately, I've been thinking a lot about food. Well, I've not been hungry—it's more that I've been hungry for flavors. A coworker of mine calls it "gula", though no dictionary I've looked it up in recognizes that as a word. He says it's a mouth hunger. I've been hungry for the taste of everything from Indian food to multi-tiered chocolate cake to pretzels and peanut butter. If someone could just bottle the essence of those foods so I could dab the flavor on my tongue, sometimes I think it would satisfy me. Maybe it'd just make me crave it more. Probably crave it more, if I'm being realistic. If something is good, I want more of it.

So lately I've found that when I try to focus on my story and the edits I'm working on, I start fantasizing about the character's meals. What would Areia's first breakfast at the Temple of Shadow and Light be? What snacks does she sneak back to her room? Is it the right season for strawberries, because those sound delicious right now. Maybe a French roll with some cheese. Only I couldn't call it a "French" roll since the entire country of France—along with the entire world as we know it—doesn't exist in Areia's world.

As I've been pondering all this food and the meals I want to have, it occurred to me that writing and food have a strange relationship for me. It's either one or the other. If I'm writing really well, I can't—won't—stop to eat, because once I stop and focus my attention on food, I lose my creative momentum. If I try to start a writing session with a snack in front of me, I usually stutter along through writing or edits until the snack is devoured, then I really get down to work.

So I go on these crazy writing binges, and when the story is going well, I don't notice the hunger. Maybe I should bottle it as a diet. Write. Write what you're crazy-passionate about. Duck your head into your imaginary world and don't raise it again until you're exhausted. Then inhale food.

Of course, that sounds like a terrible idea once I've written it down. Not the crazy-passionate stuff, of course. Just the starving and then scarfing.

There is a happy medium, and when you're lucky enough to experience it, you'll know and rejoice. It happens when you have a really attentive partner and he quietly slips into your writing world, sets a snack in front of you, then slips back out before you lose your train of thought. Then, not only do you have food, you also have true love.


Cody said...

I understand how you feel about writing. I do the same thing with computers!
Nice Blog!
I can't wait to read more.
The Food Ninja

Kate said...

Are there burritos in your fictional world?

Rebecca Chastain said...


There're no burritos in my fictional world. However, there are plenty in my second novel, which is set in contemporary times. There's no better food for a quick, on-the-go lunch when you're hunting down the bad guys.


Anonymous said...

Sara Ehrlich, acting as someone anonymous

Umm, now you are touching on a subject I can contribute to. Maybe I have found my new calling - personal chef to the truely inspired. Wouldn't that be fun? Open the door, snif the air in a room of creativity, then cook up something that compliments the atmosphere?

So long as those in the room being creative have not had too many legumes.