Suspend Your Disbelief

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Snacks of Great Writers

Work FoodI think deep down, every writer believes that there’s some magic formula for inspiration. Get the right time of day, the right location, the right kind of pen, even the right sitting or lying position, and bing! Writing Happens. But for some writers, food is part of the magic formula. One of my writing teachers used to swear by Cherry Coke—and wouldn’t drink it unless she was writing, for fear of using up the magic. For me? Red candy: Swedish fish are best, but Twizzlers will do in a pinch.

To that end, artist Wendy MacNaughton provides this illustrated guide to the favorite snacks of famous writers. Channeling Steinbeck? Have some stale coffee and cold toast. Want to write like Capote? Perhaps some coffee, followed by mint tea, a sherry, and a martini will do the trick.

But it’s not just the old-timers who snack to write. MacNaughton adds:

The novelist Vendela Vida told me she swears by pistachios, and Mark Kurlansky, the author of “Salt” and “Cod,” likes to write under the influence of espresso, “as black as possible.”

Click on over to the New York Times to see the full menu. I must say I’m surprised by Kafka—but then, once I think about it, writing The Metamorphosis while drinking a glass of milk does seem deliciously Kafka-esque.

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