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By March 25, 2010August 22nd, 2010How To

Do you know that moment? The one where you’re sitting there all perfectly content and everything, and then someone says, “I could really go for a grilled cheese.”

And then you’re thinking about the grilled cheese. At first it’s just a benign thought. After all, you weren’t hungry – not even a little bit ’cause you just ate like an hour ago. So you say, “Sounds nice, enjoy!”

But then, you’re thinking about the grilled cheese…a lot. You’re thinking about the crispy, buttery bread. And the warm, salty hit of the cheese. And the guacamole you’re slathering on it. (Granted that last part might just be me.)

And then you start to feel hungry. You tell yourself it’s just your imagination. But your imagination feels an awful lot like actual hunger pains.

So you start to rationalize the grilled cheese because  now you think you’re really hungry. And it would be downright inhumane to not feed yourself when you’re hungry – even if you’re on a diet from things like grilled cheese sandwiches.

At this point, the grilled cheese is all that you can think about: the sandwich itself, your desire, your hunger, the fact that you ‘shouldn’t’ have one…and the debate that has begun. That little voice, who can barely be heard over the sizzle in the pan, pipes up and squeaks, “You’re going to be unhappy after you eat it! You’ll regret it! Do not be led astray! Go do something else! Feed yourself some other way! I’m begging you!”

And you fire back, “Don’t be ridiculous! I’ll be fine. I’m a grownup for Pete’s sake. And I’m hungry! I need this grilled cheese!” The fact that the voice mentioned some things that are probably true, pissing you off and making you even more hungry and justified in your desperation for the grilled cheese.

Life as you knew it 3 minutes ago is now over. You can’t write, you can’t concentrate, you can’t have a conversation.

It might not be a grilled cheese, you know – that’s the easy way out and it has the lightest-weight repercussions. It might be a person or a place or heroin. Maybe you want to call someone you shouldn’t. Maybe you want to go somewhere you shouldn’t. Maybe you want just one more hit.

But let’s go back to that moment, at the beginning, when you didn’t even know you wanted it or him or her – and then, a millisecond later when you became obsessed. That leap? Bottle it. What a powerful tool for a writer to have.


As a ‘reader’ how do you not jump off the cliff? As a ‘writer’ how do you make sure we do?

Image credit: crispy fried (which is really very ironical, n’est pas?)

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