Having a recent nostalgia trip through my blogs, I am pleasantly surprised to see many of my posts are centred around food. For those who know me well, food to me, is one of life’s amazing creations (obviously after my wee rugrats and writing of course!).
Eating. Especially when someone else makes it for you has to be the best thing to be involved in at any point of the day. I cannot write without having had some food. I enter the kitchen and ponder over the contents of my fridge. Cheesy toast, omelette…whatever floats your boat really. The brain cannot function without some kind of fuel so who am I to deprive it.
Once my grey matter is sufficiently satisfied I can then meander over to the table, click my knuckles, stretch my neck and with the waggle of impatient fingers the tap-tapping of literary genius (steady!) can commence.
If I was to describe my writing day in food, it would go something along the lines of this:-
Research – The Radish. Abandoned at the back of the fridge as no-one can remember what to do with it. Not in my case though, the radish is used in my lunchtime salad. Its bright colouring helps me to achieve my rainbow plate (a small fixation I have on eating lots of different colours at the same time – call it OCD if you like, I don’t mind). It sits nicely in my rocket, watercress and spinach leaves, surrounding itself with the grated carrot, cucumber, plum tomatoes and the sprinkling of cheese thrown on top. Why do I eat salads? Because I can then devour a whole packet of custard creams without feeling guilty. Research is the backbone of every book and should not be taken lightly. Hence why I eat salads, all five-a-day on one plate. Like my research it needs to be fulfilling and cover all the angles of my book (or my palette as the case maybe). Did I mention the slither of salad cream to go with it? Fantastic.
Draft – The Delectable Dauphinoise Potato. This is the hard-working side dish that I crave on a daily basis. It’s rich creamy texture and the bubbly crust, crunch quietly as your fork slices through searching for each mouthful. These potatoes remind me of my drafts as they are made up of layers. A bit like the relationship Shrek and Donkey have: layers of issues that their friendship slowly uncovers over the length of the film. Anyway, I’m digressing but you know what I mean. Drafts can be pages, chapters and even whole document doo da’s on your PC. They need to be precise and hold a lot of information. Draft chapters are like little notebooks of gem’s that when put together make the diamond you were looking for all along. Each draft becomes better than the one before. I use mine as a reference guide to make sure I don’t start waffling on (who me?) and lose track of the storyline and where my characters need to be. It also means you can stop at the end of the day and know exactly where you need to begin after some well needed sleep.
Spell check – The Humble sausage. Whether you are a Linda McCartney fan or a creature of habit at your local butchers, the sizzling sausage is a source of so much comfort and joy, it should be on everyone’s ‘My writing is shocking today and I’m feeling useless’ menu. I go for this meal when nothing goes right. My spelling is shocking, my fingers can’t type and my mind is wandering due to a mixture of boredom and self-doubt. At some point the battery dies on my laptop as I’ve forgotten to plug it in and I can’t find saved work that was finished. You know the kind of day I’m talking about. The humble sausage is the caress you need and all provided by the spell check key. As a writer, I suppose you shouldn’t need to use one. However, if like me, you are in such a rush to get everything down all your sane logic flies out the window, only then is our friend Spell Check able to help. A warm glow will cover you as you get the fantastic message at the end of its work. In beautiful bold letters, ‘the spell check is complete’. No mistakes. Nothing. Just sweet, sweet joy that something has gone well in your day from hell. Writing can them commence with much less anxiety and a lot more ease.
Edit – The Annoying Egg. I say annoying because let’s face it, you always know when an egg has been eaten. It’s smell can be fantastic for some and not so fantastic for others. I relate my editing to the egg because you need it be hard on you, the shell. You need your egg to frown at your mistakes and tut at your grammar issues. After it has berated your work for a while, it’s soft centre rises to the surface and calms the mood down – the yolk. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggy soldiers with the rest of them. You dip into the yellow yolk with your toast and watch the liquid flow over the shell, attaching itself to your ‘bread soldier’ as you scoff the lot. But, yes, I think an egg is a great food to help you edit. Hard on the outside, soft on the inside.
Submit – sumptuous Sauvignon Blanc. It is a food. There are grapes involved! I think it’s fair to say that the relief of submitting a piece of work may be taken over by the ‘will they like it’ nerves very soon after you hit send. The silky smooth sharp tones of a chilled glass of wine are well deserved. You’ve e-mailed your ‘baby’ away or made the trip to the Post Office. You come home to an empty screen and pour a glass of ‘Aah, that’s better’. Your mind slowly unwinds and the laptop is closed for a little while.
The end of the road is near. Your radish has researched itself into oblivion. Your delirious dauphinoise have saved the day and ensured all your drafts are up to scratch, providing you with a safety net when you lose your way. Your sizzling sausage has commandeered all the misspelt nonsense in your hurry to ‘create’ and the callous egg has edited away all the story lines that don’t fit or mould with the flow of your work.
You did it. You finished your masterpiece and ate like a king along the way. Cheers.