Taking a Book for a Walk

In case you were wondering, I do intend to round up my Food in Fiction series, and I set out to do that, but I got sidetracked.

Here’s what I wrote before I wandered off topic:

‘Having looked at how others have used it, and the reasons why it might work for us, let’s think about the mechanics of how to do it: how to put Food in your Fiction.

I suppose we could just mention what a character had for their dinner, as in, “So-and-so sat down to steak pie and chips.” But would that really add anything to our narrative?

Better to give us a taste of the steak pie and chips, figuratively speaking, of course.’

… and that’s where I got sidetracked.

Thinking about a figurative taste of Food in Fiction reminded me of the fun book my friend Jane gave me when we were on our writers’ retreat week, and I decided to tell you that story instead, because you’ll enjoy it. I know you will.

Jane brought us lots of goodies for our week away, and one of them was the rather unusual and marvellous book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.

Have you seen it?

Its product description on Amazon tells us,

“Think of Wreck This Journal as the anarchist’s Artist’s Way — the book for those who’ve always wanted to draw outside the lines but were afraid to do it. … With Keri Smith’s unique sensibility, readers are introduced to a new way of art and journal making, discovering novel ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process.”

 Jane had given Sharon and I each one of these journals, but she didn’t know how we would react, if we could really do it. Deface these brand new books? Books we had been gifted? It seemed like sacrilege to true book lovers such as we three. We had gone to our retreat to write novels, not destroy books.

Hadn’t we?

But could it do what it says on the label? Could it help us ‘fully engage in the creative process?’

Our first reactions to the books involved a lot of laughter and, “Yeah, that’ll be right!” as we read some of the instructions. But it seemed like such a fun idea.

I knew I could ‘add my own page numbers.’ That was fun. Random numbers in the bottom corners of every page. Hang on, that’s not truly entering into the spirit of the thing. Random numbers all over the pages. Better.

‘Make a sudden, destructive, unpredictable movement with the journal.’ Easy! I threw it across the room to smash against the wall.


Then we were asked to, ‘Crack the Spine.’ A tricky one for some, but I was okay with that. I’m a crack the spine kind of girl.

 ‘Stand here. Wipe your feet up and down,’ ON THE PAGE! well I wasn’t quite so sure, but after some deep breathing and gritted teeth, I had a go.

‘Poke holes in this page using a pencil.’ Building up steam now. Woo-hoo! ‘Scribble wildly, violently, with reckless abandon,’


On a roll.

Now, you may wonder what on earth such a journal has to do with Food in Fiction. I shall tell you. There is a page in the journal that invites the reader to ‘Document your dinner.’ with instructions to ‘rub, smear, splatter your food.’ and the suggestion to ‘use this page as a napkin.’

Crazy, yes?

Now we were getting to the hard core stuff. No way I could ever deliberately smear food on a book. No way! Never! Wasn’t going to happen.

Then we had Champagne.


After Sharon popped the cork, aiming at the target on this page of my book, I was up for the challenge. Well, technically, not just after she’d hit the target with the cork, but after the Champagne hit the target…

Chilli Nachos feature on the pages of my journal.


It is revolting, truly revolting. It looks bad enough here, but, believe me, it is so much worse in three dimensional, glorious technicolor.

But incredibly liberating.

Incredibly liberating! I had crossed the line. I was working outside the lines. Writing flowed after that. Some of it to be discarded on the cutting room floor when I got home, but some of it the best, most flowing writing I had done in a long time, to be retained and included in my next novel.

Unlike the Chilli Nachos.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this book, Wreck This Journal. It provided so much fun throughout our week. We ripped pages, wiped them on dirty cars, made a page into a paper boat and sailed it in a dirty puddle, and glued pages together. SO much fun. I wouldn’t have believed it. We were given permission to be naughty children and the only consequences were lots of laughter and a very bedraggled journal.

I even took the book for a walk on the end of a string, as instructed.

click the link if you want to see how that went!

A sidetrack, yes.

But almost relevant to the topic of Food in Fiction.

Next time, I’ll write the post I set out to write. We’ll talk about how you can use Food in your Fiction. There’ll be tips and treats and writing prompts.

But, meanwhile, why don’t you see if you can meet the challenges set you in  Wreck This Journal

All in the name of setting your creativity free.

23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Story Reading Ape
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 16:02:47

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    Author Christine Campbell gets down and dirty – Really – She DOES! 😀

    Liked by 2 people


  2. christineplouvier
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 16:57:24

    This is what comes from being subjected to a writing culture that obsesses over “following the rules.” Adler and Van Doren’s How to Read a Book can be equally liberating, for those who aren’t ready to go this far. But I was raised to eat and read, so all of my favorites are liberally larded with grease spots and copiously garnished with crumbs, as well as glossed with gripes or meditative marginalia, so this exercise would have been all in a day’s work, for me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people


    • cicampbell2013
      Nov 22, 2014 @ 17:26:04

      Wonderful, Christine! Wish I’d been brought up that way. Though I do use books as workbooks, writing copious notes in the margins, underlining and such, I’ve been in the habit of avoiding the grease spots up till now 🙂
      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person


    • Connie Flanagan
      Mar 18, 2015 @ 22:54:20

      Christine Plouvier, my books were like sacred objects to me, and I would never write in one or spill food on it. Except for my mother, my whole family consisted of readers. She’d get so angry when we, including my father, would show up at the supper table with books in front of our faces! Lol. Working in a bookstore, I nonetheless am always able to find a couple of books as Christmas gifts that appeal to her. My father is amazed when she actually devours them! 🙂



      • christineplouvier
        Mar 19, 2015 @ 01:28:08

        Hello, Connie Flanagan: When I was growing up, reading and eating was something you did when you were eating alone. We had steel wire book holders to use when we took a book to lunch. Family meals were always just for people and food, and my father (who didn’t care for reading) usually monopolized the conversation, talking about his job. (BTW, it just occurred to me that I can’t remember ever eating any meal in front of the television. The TV was on a lot, but our primary entertainment was reading.)

        Liked by 1 person


  3. Wendy Janes (@wendyproof)
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 18:07:37

    Thanks for sharing the fun, Christine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Christine Davidson
    Nov 23, 2014 @ 20:55:21

    Trying to think of you as a naughty child destroying your book ,Christine ,hard to think ,you could ,as i know you and Gus ,had a great love of books ,i think i remember Gus saying they were like his children ,as he to loved books so much ,glad you are having fun writing ,keep up the good work !!Christine Davidson !! x

    Liked by 1 person


    • cicampbell2013
      Nov 23, 2014 @ 22:00:05

      You are right, Christine, we do love books. It took me a while to get into my stride, but, once I got used to the idea that this particular book was designed to be abused, I managed to have fun with it.
      Thank you for all your encouragement, Christine x



  5. Teagan Kearney
    Nov 23, 2014 @ 23:09:14

    A great post, Christine, and you had me in stitches. It sounds like you all had so much fun with that book – and it shows we definitely take ourselves way too seriously doesn’t it?



    • cicampbell2013
      Nov 23, 2014 @ 23:46:47

      You are right, Teagan, I think we do take ourselves too seriously sometimes. Oh, and we did have fun!
      Tell me, did the wee video open okay? Linking that way is a new skill I’m learning. I’m hoping I did it properly. 🙂



  6. Zee
    Nov 24, 2014 @ 18:53:02

    This book has been on my, “Hmmm, maybe I should buy it…” list for yonks. I love your description of actually doing all the stuff, and getting outside of your comfort zone. Incredibly liberating indeed!

    Liked by 1 person


  7. theowllady
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 00:14:35

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

    Liked by 2 people


  8. Connie Flanagan
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 22:56:40

    Chistine, Wreck This Journal is a favourite among teens at the bookstore I work in. The author now has some other similar titles out, but that one continues to be a favourite.



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