about that? – Ed), but by eating with gusto the entire way through the writing process.
The way I look at it, we have to be as healthy as we can and this depends on food, doesn’t it? What you put into your body fuels it. Ergo, what you feed your body while writing your novel fuels your novel as surely as it does your body.
With many writers there is a danger that, while they are so busy writing, they will forget to eat. Not in my case. In fact, sometimes I am so busy eating that I omit to write. I have, however, developed a rather canny knack of typing with my right hand while my left paw keeps up the conveyance of crisps into dip, and from thence into mouth. Crisps and dip can be a notoriously messy snack, but if you can manage to do it with one hand, then the other is free to write. All day. And all the way through the dip. And the next packet of crisps.
Of course, there are motor problems here with the finger co-ordination. My right index finger, for example, tends to get a little muddled and I often end up with the odd “t”in place of a “y” unless I concentrate very hard. And then comes the time to write a “y” and I end up with a “t” but these are small problems and can easily be edited out in the next draft, possibly while sucking some juice through a straw, because that doesn’t require
Some writers might eat the kind of food that their characters eat, or the national dishes of the country they are writing about, but I don’t really discriminate. I’m happy to eat whatever’s in my cupboard, or in my biscuit tin. What I like about crisps and dip, though, is that the crisp crumbs tend to land in the dip and not on the keyboard, which is a bonus because you don’t have to stop to turn the laptop upside down; you can just collect the fallen crumbs from the inside of the dip tub with the next crisp and nothing is
wasted on the keyboard.
(Pizza is particularly messy, and I prefer to leave this until I am watching TV. This is usually followed by microwave popcorn with Jelly Tots. Did I mention that I like Jelly Tots in my popcorn? You really should try it – it works especially well in a darkened movie house, and it’s much better for you than all that salt, which I hate on my popcorn, particularly that hideous, artificially-flavoured powder that they leave on the counter for you to poison your popcorn with. Yuk! Seriously, the best part about eating it in the dark is that your fingers can’t distinguish between the rough curved surface of the popcorn and the rough sugared surface of the Jelly Tot, so every mouthful is a surprise. Fun, huh? Trust me on this!)
Anyway, back to the novel. This weekend I managed to consume five pots of English breakfast tea, three and a half litres of iced tea, two packets of biscuits (mostly dipped in tea for the same reason as crisps and dip – see above), one and a half maxi-size bags of crisps, a tub of dip, a pizza while watching TV between editing sessions, two medium tubs of yoghurt, and a six-pack of hot cross buns. I know these last are supposed to be seasonal, but my garage shop stocks them year-round. They’re good writing food but sticky rules apply. Sticky rules? Always have a damp kitchen cloth on a saucer close at hand – it beats running to the kitchen every time you need a mop-up. Yoghurt is good writing food, but you need the big tubs, not those poxy little ones that fall over as they get emptier because the spoon suddenly becomes too heavy.
Strangely, cheese and chocolate – two of my favourite leisure foods – are not favourites when it comes to writing. This is because they usually have fiddly wrappings that need two hands to undo them, and that really takes you right out of the novel – usually at a time you can ill afford the interruption, and even I am not such a pig as to consume the waxy rind or the silver paper of these respective products. I still have old metal fillings in my mouth...
Soup, pasta dishes and those nifty little cocktail sticks with chunks of tasty things on them are okay, but the preparation time is the big downfall here. Fine if someone else has prepared them, but food that comes in a packet, ready to eat (or to microwave) takes the first prize in my house every time.
So what is my novel about, you ask? Can’t remember exactly, but the characters do eat several pizzas and drink a lot of Australian wine. Watch this space!