The Questions…

How do I stay on target with my point? What is my point exactly? What is the source of our problem? Why has this shift in dietary behaviors been so painful and difficult? When did the ‘right’ thing to do, become the ‘wrong’ thing?

I find it difficult, when talking to people, to not stray from the point.


Staying on target with the point is difficult because there are so many aspects involved. Ours is not so much a story as a warning. It is not a series of events, it is a motley mix of science, sociology, politics, economics, parenting, psychology, biology, chemistry, with a dash of confusion and a hell of a lot of angst.

Early on in the draft process of Canary in the Coalmine[1] I began to search for publishing venues. I was taught in school, in my writing classes, that when you began to work on your final draft, that moment was the perfect time to send out query letters, sample chapters, and try somehow to shorten the time between finishing the book and getting it out to the public to be read.

I did not venture very far out though. I was frightened from the book market coastline by a host of barracudas. They fiercely guard access to the publishing waters. The carnivorous fish dragged long lists of what-not-to-send-to-us. They nipped and bit at anyone that ventured close that weren’t followed by an entourage of devoted readers[2]. They quipped, why should we care, if it is such a ‘rare’ disorder?

I was at a loss to explain. Mostly because I didn’t really give a sh#t what they thought; I had a story, I thought it was relevant, and I wanted to share it. The remaining logic was based on my realization, at the second query letter, as I was in the act of writing it, that no one would ever be able to comprehend why, until they read the entire story.

There wasn’t any ‘short, reader’s digest version’ that would not lead to more questions or temporary confusion. I opted for quirky, and that tactic failed too.

I actually considered for my third query letter (for about 30 hilarious seconds), that I should just send a 2 sentence letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

I have written a book. You should read it.

Enclosure: Chapter 1 -3, more to follow…

Needless to say, I went a different route.

Friends have been telling me to self-publish, but I have no real interest in profiting from the story. Or, to manage marketing, budget, public relations, or basically exert any more energy than necessary to get my words out there[3]. Besides, I don’t really consider myself a Writer. I am just someone who writes. And I have no desire to step into the gladiatorial author arena. AND many editors and English professors are annoyed by my use of conjunctions and adverbs at the beginning of the sentence, or my tendency, for whats-it-called, oh yeah, run-on sentences. Oh, and ellipses… those really get their blood boiling…

What do I want, then, from this online posted book?

Well, when one of my husband’s co-workers yips, “Yer eatin the food meh food eatz!” because they see him eating a salad while they gorge themselves on a double-bacon cheeseburger, I want him to say, “What? Y-You eat PEOPLE?”

But more than that… I just want the comments to stop. I want the social pressure to ‘be unhealthy like me’ to go away. I desperately want to see concepts of moderation and common sense be the norm and not a statistical outlier that annoys marketing gurus.

I mean… when I force myself to exercise compassion, I know why my husband’s co-worker said what he said, and it is three-fold:

  1. He was trying to be funny, and failed.
  2. He felt bad that he was not able to make a healthier choice or a good joke.
  3. He passive-aggressively wanted my husband to feel as BAD as he did… by making him feel like he had to defend his choice of salad over cheeseburger.

Aside from the social aspects, I also want the doctors to stop the pharmacy farm.

AND, I want people to be empowered to manage their own health and wellness. To tell the status quo doctors to piss off and find doctors that will WORK FOR THE PATIENT and not the pharmaceutical companies.

In the movie, Fed Up, one of the mothers really hit on a major aspect of the American personality that has been lost at some point. And if it does exist somewhere, I don’t see it much anymore…

The rural mother of the overweight teen, I wish I recalled her name, but her words resonated with me.

There is a scene of her cooking dinner, and somewhere in it, you hear her say in her sweet southern drawl, with a hint of Appalachian burr[4]… something simple, something old, a phrase, a basic concept, that I grew up hearing:

“My Mama always said we find time for what we want.” (paraphrased…)

In that simple statement is a multitude of meaning. It says that if you want it to happen, you make it happen. It says that you are responsible for what happens to you.

It says “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

It hearkens back to that old, Calvinistic belief that we are supposed to do good works. It says to let those works be the light of the world. We aspire to be the light of the world, not because we will get a reward at the end. But because it is THE RIGHT thing to do.

Her words had a strength, a nobility, and humility.

I suppose, then, that my pie-in-the-sky desire, is for more people to be like that.

Yet, that is not even close to the reason I wrote the book[5].

I suppose, that is just the world that would exist where I wouldn’t have to write it.

It is an attempt to create a safe environment where it is okay that they can’t eat that crappy uber-process, refined, chemical-laden, nutrient-deprived, over-portioned, food.

If it takes everyone else another 30 years to figure out… that’s their problem. But right now, it is mine.

The interesting thing is though… that the more I share our story… the more people I find with the same problem, they just travelled a different path than us.




[1] It at one point called: “STOP TRYING TO KILL MY KIDS WITH YOUR FOOD!” and another “Symptomless Crimes”…

[2] Um… new writer here… Who’s working for whom?

[3] I’m not lazy. I just have a lot on my plate right now. Parent of a teen and pre-teen. Graduate School. Making sure I don’t end up in Divorce court. You know… the usual stuff. Oh, and don’t forget all that unforeseen crap that surfaces at the most inopportune times.

[4] I don’t know what the accent is called, it’s that hard ‘r’ sound that gets drawn out… I call it a burr…

[5] I did not write the book, or create the story. I transcribed it. Some days, it felt like I had no real choice in the matter. Because the ‘choice’ was more like the choice between swimming and drowning.