# of pages written on new project: 6
# of literary mags submitted to: 6
# of agents queried: 1
# of poems written: 3
I’ve been eating a lot of sugar lately. It’s so delicious and hard to resist. I’m staying at my mom’s house for awhile, and she is always baking cookies and buying chocolate and making French toast for breakfast.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that our house currently contains all of the following sweets: M&Ms, Hershey chocolates, Oreo’s, homemade oatmeal cookies, watermelon gummies, ginger candy, hot cocoa, Breyer’s ice cream. And I’m at home all day, sitting three feet away from the kitchen, trying to pretend like I don’t want to be eating M&Ms. (Here’s a not-so-secret secret about me: I always want to be eating M&Ms.)
It was easier when I was living at my friend Nikki’s house because she’s so super healthy that there were never any sweet snacks in the house. (She won’t even eat more than eight raisins in one sitting because she says they’re too sugary.)
Nikki did make sugar-free deserts sometimes, like her Guinness ice cream made with almond milk, or her coconut-carob brownies made with Stevia sweetener. They were pretty tasty, but sometimes a sugarless carob cookie just didn’t satisfy me, so I usually had M&Ms or some other kind of sweet on hand. But as time went on, I ate less and less sugar. I usually bought only one sweet thing at a time, and I tried to make it last. And sometimes – shocker of shockers – I didn’t even eat dessert after dinner!!
It wasn’t that Nikki would (openly) judge me for eating sweets, but I guess, watching how healthily she ate, I judged myself. And I cut back. I got into the habit of eating less sugar, and I realized I didn’t need it as much as I thought. Turns out, eating fewer sweets made me feel really good.
Of course, it didn’t take too long after leaving Nikki’s house to slip back into my old ways. A few M&Ms at breakfast. Dessert after every meal.
Back in caveman days, we struggled constantly for food, and when we found it, we ate as much of it as we could. In the caveman days, we were constantly on the move, hunting mammoths and running from sabor-tooth tigers. When we had the chance to rest, we took it.
And this wasn’t just in caveman times. This is the way it was for serfs in the middle ages, frontiersman on the prairie, slaves in the American south. This is the way it’s been for most people for most of history.
Now Americans are doing the backwards struggle. We have all of this food, and we struggle not to eat it. We have all of these restful days of sitting in front of computers, and we struggle to make ourselves get up and move around. We are struggling against our nature, which tells us to lay around eating sugar.
“I wish I was a lady of leisure,” my mom said the other day as she got ready for work. She looked at me pointedly. “Like you.”
It’s true that I don’t have to set an alarm (though I’m usually up by seven), and that, technically, I don’t have to get dressed or leave the house (though I usually do both). It’s true that my days are spent mostly sitting around, reading and writing and talking to Ukrainians.
I have all of these things on my to-do list: write a new novel, get an agent, publish stories, write a blog. And I try to work on them every day. But sometimes it’s very tempting to say to myself, I don’t feel like writing today – it’s too hard. Why don’t I just sit on the couch all afternoon, reading and eating M&Ms? It’s a struggle to resist what tastes good, to chose to move even though nothing is chasing me.
Writing is a backwards struggle sometimes. Sometimes my mind tells me not to do it – just eat some chocolate, Eva, and take a nap, it says. But when I force myself to sit down and write, I’m always glad I did. When I get into the habit of writing every day, I realize how much I need it. Turns out, doing more writing makes me feel really good.
Less sugar. More writing. That’s the power of Eva.