Friday Speak Out!: Give the Writer a Sandwich. Please.

Friday, April 22, 2016
by Vicki Wilson

I was on a diet.

It was a few months after the holidays, over which I’d eaten much chocolate and more prime rib than a good-sized tyrannosaurus rex. And then everyone in my family had a birthday with cake and ice cream and then it was after Easter and I needed to drop a few pounds.

I’m a writer. A work-from-home, hungry writer. I measured, and the refrigerator is thirteen feet from my desk. The pantry is closer. The pantry has potato chips.

On the first Day of the Diet, I sat down at my computer with an apple and my cup of coffee all creamed up with skim milk. I sipped and nibbled while I opened my emails. “This isn’t so hard,” I thought. “My mind is occupied. My coffee is good. I don’t need a bagel. I don’t need cream cheese. I don’t need one of those Boston cream doughnuts. I certainly don’t need scrambled eggs.”

In one email response, I typed “steak” rather than “stake.”

Lunchtime came (at 11:30 a.m. because 11:30 a.m. is lunchtime when you’re on a diet). I made a healthy turkey wrap, sat back down at my desk, and felt as though confetti should fall from the ceiling, both to celebrate my dietary parsimoniousness and that it was lunchtime. When I looked up from the writing I was working on, I was surprised to find my turkey wrap gone. Writing is a hazard when you’re on a diet. You can become too absorbed in what you’re composing and completely miss that you had a meal. This is not encouraging for your dieting mind, which by this point was obsessed with a turkey bacon club with extra mayo with a side of fries and a large Coke rather than a nice turkey, lettuce and tomato wrap (which had already been eaten).

Then, dinner.

No, not yet.

2 p.m. I ate baby carrots and thought about pitching someone an article on whether hunger can make you wild-eyed and nutty as a fruitcake (I noted that the mention of fruitcake did not make me want fruitcake and I congratulated myself on not being too far gone).


Nope. 4:30 p.m.

The phone rang and I jumped on it like I was grabbing for a rope to leap out over a swimming hole. Hunger distraction. It was my husband. We made small talk. Then, “What do you want for dinner?” he asked me.

Oh, goodness. What did I not want? I wanted mashed potatoes with butter. I wanted lasagna. I wanted macaroni and cheese.

“Maybe a grilled chicken salad?” I said. “I’m on a diet.”

“Right,” he said. “Okay. You want me to pick it up?”

“Sure. Or, maybe, why not just a cheeseburger?”

“A cheeseburger? What about the diet?”

“Okay, just a hamburger.”

“Okay,” he said, and hung up.

I didn’t need a cheeseburger. I was a work-from-home writer. I had cheese in the fridge, thirteen feet away. Right beside the pantry with the Lays.

I had everything I needed.

* * *
Vicki Wilson is a freelance writer and author who also occasionally writes plays. She lives in New York with her husband and son. You can visit her at or follow her on Twitter (@Wilsvick).
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Angela Mackintosh said...

Vicki, I can relate! It's hard not to snack when you work at home and are so near food all day. I'm constantly on some kind of diet but end up cheating when my hubby offers to pick something up. I ate a burger and fries two nights ago and pasta last night. What can I say, I love carbs. The only thing that saves me is my addiction to working out. Thanks for sharing. Great post! :)

Bookie said...

Really enjoyed this essay!!! Hit home so much...been there and am doing that!!! Great job.

Vicki said...

Bookie, I'm so glad I'm not the only one. :) Angela, I like working out, too, and use my workout breaks to figure out plotting probs or hiccups in my work. But man, I'm a constant snacker! LOL! Thank you for reading!

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