Food for Thought: Eating in Reality and Fiction
How important is food in life, and in stories about life? Quite important!
As a psychologist/author (or psycho author), I encounter food in both careers. I counsel individuals with eating disorders, and I write novels featuring romantic dinners or conflict-ridden family meals. The ability to eat and care for oneself is a key indicator of one’s self-worth. And, food preferences reveal fictional character quirks. Eating can be a deeply emotional experience whether it’s reality or fiction.
When you’re stressed, do you tend to eat more? Eat less? Individuals who severely restrict food or binge eat take such emotional eating to the extreme. Their brain chemistry makes eating an anxious experience. They often don’t feel worthy enough to nurture themselves, and they determine their value solely on weight and shape. I write more about Anorexia Nervosa here: http://jenniferlanebooks.blogspot.com/2011/01/psychoanalyze-your-characters-5.html and Bulimia Nervosa here: http://jenniferlanebooks.blogspot.com/2011/01/psychoanalyze-your-characters-6-bulimia.html
Moving on to fiction, food tells a lot about a character. In With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1), heroine Sophie Taylor emerges from prison thinner than before due to the awful prison food. When she meets fellow parolee Grant Madsen and they go out on their first date, Grant takes Sophie to a Mediterranean restaurant. He developed a taste for the cuisine in his stint as a Navy lieutenant stationed in the Persian Gulf. Sophie and Grant also have fun trading hot dog jokes at the White Sox baseball game.
But food plays a more pivotal role in Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2). Sophie is making Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches for Grant’s nephew when Grant walks in and freezes. Turns out BLT’s trigger a flashback to childhood abuse for Grant. Certain smells, sights, and sounds can trigger memories of a past trauma, and the experience of crackling bacon is what spins Grant into a state of powerless terror.
Thank you for the opportunity to visit your blog, Shelley! May you fill 2013 with happy and healthy experiences with food.
Jennifer Lane, Author
Romantic Suspense featuring Healing and Redemption
With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1) Romantic Suspense
Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2) Romantic Suspense
Streamline Young Adult Sports Romance
Swim Recruit Young Adult short story (free!)
Thanks for sharing your food for thought, Jennifer!
You can find Jen and her books here: