April 12, 2016

Sunday, April 8, 2012

30 Habits of Highly Effective Poets #8: Nicole Schultheis on Food

My friend Nicole Schultheis is a poet, a lawyer, a mom, a novelist and president of a fabulous organization, the Maryland Writers Association.

Nicole is also a die-hard foodie. Once, when I was visiting her home, I had to ask about Nicole's wall-length bookshelf. It is filled from top to bottom with cookbooks, collected by Nicole and her late husband.

I wonder if Nicole knows about book spine poetry.
With these book titles, she could cook up some pretty juicy verse.

If you comment today, please share your favorite writing-time munchies. For me, it's Twizzlers. (Another option -- write a book spine poem with Nicole's cookbooks.)

My jaw muscles love them. My taste buds are in heaven.
While I don't indulge often, Twizzlers are the perfect amount of chewy. Did you know that chewing helps you think? Here is an article on the topic from Real World Mindfulness.

Recently, Nicole tried something a little fancier than Twizzlers for her writing snack. The gourmet salsa was a treat for the tongue, but had some unexpected side effects.

Several bathroom breaks later, Nicole returned to her computer and found this piece, composed by her dog. It's a (rejected) new food review for McSweeney's.

Dear McSweeney’s,

My mistress is annoyed.

Last evening when no one was looking and she was trying unsuccessfully to write something funny, she ate a whole tub of Fresh! Hot Salsa with a crowd-pleaser bag of salty chips, then devoured a large chocolate bar with hazelnuts. (She did not give me any of it.) This made her drink a lot of water. She couldn’t sleep, I suppose because of the chocolate and the water, so she got up, went to the bathroom, took ibuprofen and acetaminophen together, and drank another large quantity of water. Then she slept until 10:30 and woke up groggy, downed four cups of black coffee, and sat here at this screen staring, apparently unable to write the piece she had intended to submit to you literate types at McSweeney’s. She kept pressing on her belly with her arms folded. She went into the bathroom several times, fiddling with something or other. Around two, she got dressed but found she could not force her feet into any of her favorite shoes, so she settled for her new pink and green flip-flops that had lots of pretty buttons and silk flowers sewn on them. I liked them especially because the bottoms were hand painted with little paisleys and polka dots. When she came back, this screen had gone black and in the reflection, she saw something that bothered her in the middle of her cheek and began picking at it. She moaned, and went back to the kitchen to make more coffee.

I wiggled the mouse with my nose and saw the word Fresh! on the screen in an email addressed to McSweeney’s but there was nothing written after it.

The new flip-flops were under her chair. My gums were itching.


You can purchase these lovely floral flip-flops for $125 at

As Nicole says, flip-flops, while delectable, are not technically a food. They did, however, inspire some fun writing.

Tomorrow, Pushcart-prize nominee Lisa Vihos stops by to talk about the importance of practice.

1 comment:

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks, Laura and Nicole. Food - hmmm... probably bits of dark chocolate, little pieces broken off of the bar I always keep in the fridge. And now, especially for canine poet Fidelio, a book spine poem from Nicole's shelves:

Wild Game
in Nonna's Kitchen -
The Italian Way

Cheers! ;0)