This week, Futures finds Beth Cato in a somewhat apocalyptic mood with her new story Excerpts from the 100-day food diary of Angela Meyer. Beth is no stranger to Futures having previously written stories including Bread of life, Canopy of skulls, The human is late to feed the cat and Post-apocalyptic conversations with a sidewalk. She is author of the Clockwork Dagger steampunk fantasy and you can keep up to date with her work at her website or by following her on Twitter. Here, she reveals what inspired her latest story — as ever, it pays to read the story first.
Writing Excerpts from the 100-day food diary of Angela Meyer
The end of the calendar year always features a clash of advertising: all the glorious food temptations of the holidays with cakes and confections and gluttonous delights, and the beginning of the diet ads that usher in the next year with extreme guilt and self-consciousness over those recent indulgences. This past year’s conclusion included an extra twist of dark political news. Every which way I looked, I saw decadent cookie/biscuit platters, ‘How to Lose Ten Pounds in a Week’, and headlines along the lines of ‘Here are the myriad ways in which we might die in 2017’.
That combination inspired my ‘Food diary’ story. The love/hate battle with food, and all of the psychological dilemmas behind that, are conflicts I know all too well. That made Angela’s fight to stay healthy amid the downfall of civilization feel all the more personal for me. I know her battle is not simply a physical one, with a focus on losing pounds. Much of the battle is mental, against her own body, and the temptations of the people and the advertising that surrounds her.
For Angela, the effort to maintain her food diary when she loses everything else is about keeping sane in a world gone mad. Her dilemma is one that I think many people can relate to … and it’s one that, I pray, stays confined to fiction, even as dark news continues to surround us.