I like to think Muriel Spark would take her “D is for Dexedrine” entry in Jane Hu’s round-up of Writer Food from A to Z in good spirits, though it should be noted that when told that her former editor said she’d been “really quite batty” during her diet pill period, Spark called him an “indescribably filthy liar” who “must be on the bottle again.”
Dieting talk and Muriel Spark really do seem to go hand in hand. Judging by the highly scientific sample of people I know or have met briefly, every fanatical fan of her work will at some point, usually while drinking, marvel at the brilliant simplicity of the diet plan laid out by Mrs. Hawkins, narrator of Spark’s 18th novel, A Far Cry from Kensington:
"It’s easy to get thin. You eat and drink the same as always, only half…. I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book."
This approach can be disadvantageous to writers, though, according to Mrs. Hawkins, even for reasons not involving nutrition. “[W]hen I decided to be thin,” she says, “right away I noticed people didn’t confide their thoughts to me so much.”
(Previously cited Mrs. Hawkins wisdom: if you want to concentrate deeply on your writing, get a cat.)
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