I’ve never thought about the food in Some Act of Vision, but what a great question to ask about characters: But what are they eating? I suppose the title of Chapter Two is most appropriate for today’s guest post: “Eat Something.” Jordan Walker is a ballet dancer, and as a former dancer, I can attest to the strange relationship that dancers have had (historically) with food. I think it’s getting better now, but when I was a teenager, food was a topic fraught with anxiety and wish-fulfillment. I was always hungry—I loved food, and especially sweets—but my anxiety about the way my body was supposed to look according to magazines and other dancers made me love-hate food. I’d love whatever it was I was eating, but later “hate” that same food when around my friends. Thankfully, things have changed since the 80s, and we’re raising girls and boys with smarter approaches to body image.
Jordan Walker’s father reminds her to eat something—anything—as he stands at the counter and wolfs down his morning oatmeal and coffee. Jordan doesn’t struggle as mightily as her fellow dancers do; except for one friend who dared to eat half a muffin, Jordan’s friends don’t eat on recital days even though their dance teacher reminds them to eat well.
But food isn’t the enemy in Some Act. In fact, one of Jordan’s favorite smells is watermelon Jolly Ranchers, which is her little brother Ethan’s favorite candy. When he blows on her wet mascara as her tiny make-up assistant, his breath smells like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. There’s something magical and powerful about the way food—and the aroma of food in particular—can attach itself to a person, becoming a characteristic as important as his nose or her laugh.
Once the fracking disaster occurs and fundamentally changes Jordan’s body, food is the one thing she no longer needs. What are we without our bodies? What if we can no longer dance or eat our comfort foods or physically do all the things that have shaped our identity? This is the question Jordan must figure out. I faced this question when my feet were too damaged to dance. We face it when our favorite foods are banned from us. (Am I still the chocoholic of the family if I can no longer eat chocolate?) Do you identify with a particular food or drink, even if it’s something you can no longer have?
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lori!
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