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We who are about to diet: Stacey Ballis.

April 26, 2010 \am\30 11:00 am

I began this little series when a Literary Death Match photo surfaced, in which I appeared meatier of thigh than I actually am. Bad angle. My friend R asked me if I thought Maya Angelou worried about her angles.

I then found this video of a young writer named Megan Boyle eating high-fiber cereal mixed with yogurt and pumpkin on the Eat When You Feel Sad promotional site. All of the other young, hip writers on the site were eating what one might expect: vegan w/ Sriracha hot sauce, or cake and ice cream. But sweet Jesus! This girl eats like me. Low-caloric, unsexy, in bulk.

Boyle’s little repast made me wonder: What are other women writers eating? How much do they think about their bodies? Does personal upkeep prove to be a distraction from time spent with craft? Also, I like looking in other people’s fridges.

I’ve engaged several female authors: Erica Rivera, Stacey Ballis and Melissa Petro in a fireside (okay a Firewall) chat.

Name: Stacey Ballis
Age: 40
Predominant genre:
Fiction

How much time would you say you spend thinking about your physical appearance each day?

30 minutes or less

How much time would you say you spend doing activities to improve your physical appearance each day? What are some of these activities?

15 minutes or less, dressing, dealing with my hair, makeup, jewelry.

Do you feel like the time and mental energy you devote to your physical appearance takes away from the time and mental energy you might otherwise devote to your writing?

No

Do have trouble rectifying your identity as a writer with your consideration for your appearance?

No

Do thoughts and feelings about your appearance in any way dictate your choice of subject matter?

Yes, I usually have at least one main character who is either a plus-sized woman, or who has struggles with her weight, and I try to create characters who do not let their physical appearance prevent them from living their best lives.

Do you ever feel like heterosexual male writers are at an advantage, because they don’t “have to” spend as much physical and mental energy on appearance?

Yes.  They also don’t have their work identified as specifically male.  Women write Chick Lit, Hen Lit, Mom Lit, Women’s Fiction… men just write books.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Yes

If so, do you have trouble rectifying your identity as a feminist with your consideration for your appearance?

No

Have you ever used any non-food substances to keep your weight down?

No

If you could eat anything you wanted and not gain weight, what are some foods you would eat?

I would eat exactly what I eat now, just in larger quantities, and with much more emphasis on butter, chocolate, and bread.

What did you eat yesterday?

Easter Ham and all the fixin’s

Did you eat what you ate yesterday based on pleasure, environmental factors, health factors, staying skinny, or something else?

Pleasure and celebration

What’s in your refrigerator?

Condiments, lots of wine and champagne, leftovers from a fabulous dinner party, cheeses and sausages, five kinds of pickles, chocolate pudding, veggies, yogurt, milk, tangerine juice, apple cider, fruit, cream, four kinds of butter.

What’s in your pantry?

You do not have enough room on this blog!  Pastas, rices, grains, condiments, canned goods, snack foods, baking goods, eleventy million types of tea, peanut butter, crackers, lots o weird foreign ingredients.

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5 Comments
  1. April 26, 2010 \pm\30 4:16 pm 4:16 pm

    “Q: Do you feel like the time and mental energy you devote to your physical appearance takes away from the time and mental energy you might otherwise devote to your writing?
    A: No”

    …well, thank God for that.

    I’m not trying to be mean. Stacey seems like a talented and witty writer. But couldn’t she at least elaborate or have a little fun with this?

    • April 26, 2010 \pm\30 4:20 pm 4:20 pm

      Reminds me of Zach Galifianakis interview where he answered one question with “I’m going to take a nap,” then says “OK, I’m back” for the next.

      • April 26, 2010 \pm\30 10:18 pm 10:18 pm

        As a woman I deeply respect her “no.” Wanna know how this thing got started? Ok. A literary death match photo surfaced in which I appeared meatier of thigh than I actually am. Bad angle. My friend asked me if I thought Maya Angelou worried about her angles. Then I felt ashamed not only of the bad picture but about my body image as it relates to being a “serious artist.” (I did not think about how my blogging relates to being a “serious artist.”) Then I found this video of a young writer named Megan Boyle eating high-fiber cereal mixed with yogurt and pumpkin on the Eat When You Feel Sad promotional site http://www.eatwhenyoufeelsad.com/2010/01/megan-boyle.html All of the other writers were eating like young hip writers: either vegan w/ Sriracha or cake and ice cream. Sweet Jesus! I thought. She eats like me. Then I wondered what was in Janet Frame’s fridge. What was in Grace Paley’s fridge? What’s in your fridge?

      • April 27, 2010 \am\30 11:35 am 11:35 am

        Melissa – Oh, I totally do too! Problem is, the rest of her responses were pretty brief as well and didn’t get into any great detail. It just didn’t seem like she was having fun with it is all, which is a shame. All I was saying.

        What’s in my fridge? You don’t want to know. Because of the depressing contents lack of contents and the fact that I’m not a published writer.

        Also, I love your explanation. You should have it (or a paraphrase of it) as the header for these posts.

  2. April 27, 2010 \pm\30 12:17 pm 12:17 pm

    Good idea Kevin. Somehow I felt safer pontificating my meaty-thigh-photo concern in comments section rather than blog, but you have inspired me to take the plunge.

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