Fiction | Short Story

Noshing For Scribblers

A Full Course Rant

 Amid a world of curated candy-stands at movie theatres; curated Little-Box-of-Paris subscriptions, and don’t even get me started on the tendencies of curated literary journals—

Dear Scribbler, while we read your story with considerable interest andfound much to admire in its fluid language, a historical rendering of theBarbary Coast doesn’t fit the aesthetic of our ghosts & gourds, pumpkin-spiced, autumn issue. Good luck placing this piece elsewhere and…blah, blah, blah—

Is it any wonder that starving artists are…well, hungry?

In fact, we are craving sustenance in this cold, cruel, curated world. A world of web journals that leaves us unpublished [despite our fluidly rendered prose] and unpaid. [If you’re reading this now on your fancy tablet-pad-phone, don’t be fooled—this little ditty is nothing more than a carefully contrived piece of editorial poop for which McSweeney’s wouldn’t pay the price of a McChicken and fries to shat upon their internet tendencing readers.] So, how does a struggling writer manage to eat…

…amid a world of curated tasting menus, flights of gustatorial fancy, and designer taco-cum-juice trucks; none of which fit into their sans fluid finances. [When was the last time you saw a taco truck on a suburban New Jersey corner?] How does one even eat when time squeezed out of daily responsibilities [real life; not this narrative speculative fiction stuff] is all we have to unleash our creative forces [on a rejecting world] and allow the fluid prose to flow.

How indeed—

We crave food sources providing healthy choices; foods that can be eaten with one hand while we scribble with the other. Now, sushi may be the zen solution to this alimentary koan, and I myself have access to a sushi bar at the end of my street; I may not have access to a taco truck, but by God, even in bumf@#k suburban New Jersey, I can obtain fresh California roll without burning a carbon tire-print on a county road [I could even walk there if it wasn’t so diabolically humid]. But alas, sushi, locally sourced or not, is too expensive for this unpaid scribbler, so it’s back to raking the zen garden in search of something more sustaining than a chicken nugget.

Most of us strive to maintain an eating schedule akin to farm animals; grazing at regular intervals from morning ’til nightfall, but for those who scribble, regular meals are a hum-drum pastime best served to the dull and wholesome. [If you are of that ilk, I thank you for reading this far, but this soapbox, stand-up comedy routine isn’t for you; if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will find some links suggesting excellent and amusing fodder curated with considerable interest and containing much to admire, including that all-time favorite, It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers! —Hey, it never gets old.] For those of you on alternate and deleterious schedules, Read on! [and don’t forget to repost this post, after all we live and scroll through a share-share world of friend-curated news feeds].

Back to your schedule—yes, you, the scribbler on the night shift [no sushi bar in sight]; on the call desk [hands-free but mouth unable to chew]; or on a deadline [trust me, collapsing into a greasy pizza box is not a solution]. Some of you navigate irregular schedules from home, scribbling around a child’s nap or an ill-disposed elder’s slumber [my octogenarian naps only between 2am-4am and again, 2pm-4pm]; their needy maws clamoring for infantile food groups [a brigade of toast soldiers and fish sticks—that’s not food!] or immediate dispensation from a pharmacopeia as long as my arm [accompanied by the aforementioned brigade of toast soldiers and fish sticks]. By the time you’ve cleaned up their driveled mess, you’ve no energy [as Ellington said, “I’m done limp on my heels.”] to curate yourself an appetizing salad or pho bowl. You just want to retreat to your blank white page with a glass of Pinot Blanc, and drown amid white, effervescent, tiny bubbles.

If only there were some nutritious finger foods to pair with your quaff. Something that didn’t come from the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s, though, let’s face it—those blankety-blanks may not be a far cry from fish sticks, but they’re microwaveable, edible, and cheaper than sushi.

So, good luck with this; I hope you salivated over every word and I encourage you to submit to your hunger pangs. [Maybe I’ll see you at Trader Joe’s later…]

—the Starving Scribbler

(4pm Thursday, 8 September 2016)