No, really, I do.
Chapter 2 of my dissertation was written fueled mostly by 3/4oz Cabot Cheddar Cheese Snack Packs and 1L bottles of Vintage Seltzer. Both are awesome.
Having a consistent snack is one of those mind tricks for me. Like how if you chew different flavors of gum when studying different subjects and then chew that same subject-specific flavor of gum during a test you will remember more/do better. A consistent writing snack is grounding for me in that same way. It helps put me and keep putting me back in that right frame of mind. Similarly, I make sure that my writing space has a consistent scent.
Aww, man! In looking that up I just learned that West Elm no longer carries diffusers. Oh, West Elm lapsang tea scent- you are so often what has been that little pick-me-up in my writing-day. Okay, I will deal with that potential mini-crisis another time.
With the dissertation, as Chapter 2 concluded and I moved into Chapter 3, the snacks which fueled my writing took a nose dive.
Maybe it had to do with moving back to Ohio from Vermont where Cabot Snack Packs of awesomeness cannot be found… not sure. It definitely had to do with an increasing sensitivity to dairy – which I also rediscovered in the past two weeks as I started eating cottage cheese again, which I will soon stop eating again.
Vintage Seltzer was still available in Ohio and I still consumed it in quantities that would make me ashamed to put out my recycling each week. But still, as Chapter 3 took on a whole new life force of its own, my writing was increasingly fueled by Starbust and Coconut M&Ms. (Hmmm, that might be a possible explanation as to why Chapter 3 on its own is 100+ pages.)
The revising and editing phases of the dissertation have not been fueled by anything on a consistent basis since moving to Seattle. Heck the whole writing process has not been as consistent as I’ve needed it to be. Vintage Seltzer is not available out here, which makes me sad. Not because I am brand-loyal or anything like that. (Although I really, really, really do like them) Rather, it has to do with the fact that you can’t get bottles of seltzer out here in reasonable sizes. And by reasonable I mean, socially acceptable to carry around/fit in a purse.
Talking Rain – that which seems dominate the market place – is only available in 2l sizes at the grocery store.
You can get cases of super tiny ones from Costco, but those are like doing a shot of seltzer. Plus, while we have a much larger recycling bin here than I did in Ohio, I was sill feeling bad about how much of it was filled by those petite bottles. Do I have a whole 2L sitting next to me right now as I write? Yup. Would I toss it in my bag and take it with me to the library? No. Would I take one to class with me to keep me hydrated through 2 hours of teaching? Nope.
The best I’ve done is run across 1.25L bottles of carbonated mineral water (not the same as straight up seltzer) at Trader Joe’s. That .25 is actually a problem. I could get 1L from Trader Joe’s back in Ohio and they too I could toss in my bag and take to class or the library. That .25 just makes the bottle a bit too big, a bit too heavy, and a bit too awkward looking to be caught swigging in public.
As of yet, I still have not found a food or snack that is fueling this portion of the writing process. I know that I can’t go back to Starburst and M&Ms as I’ve become increasingly sensitive to sugar. I am a fan of hard candy, even those little green tea mints, so earlier I was wondering if I could somehow manufacture vegetable-based hard candy. Could I compress a red pepper into candy like goodness?
I bet if I could do that and it could taste awesome, then I would not need to worry about this whole horrible job market for academics.