Weekend Writing Warriors: Anti-Cupids (Dobosh)

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When last we left them, Viv’s boss Stan had just told her that his long-time partner had traded him in for a younger model, and she offered comfort in the form of a platonic hug and reassurance in the form of mild, necktie-threatening sexual harassment—also platonic, because even imaginary human beings are no strangers to emotional oxymorons.

We’re skipping over all the names she called his partner—this is a family-ish blog, necktie-abuse aside—a depressed philosophy of romance, and an amusing (I hope) debate about empty coffee pot etiquette, and have arrived at lunchtime.  Viv has dropped by Stan’s office to offer even more comfort in the form of take-out from the Hungarian-Jewish deli  I shamelessly based on Izzy’s in Cincinnati and Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, because I love and miss them both, so, so much, and also I was eating dill pickle soup when I wrote this.*

He frowned at his screen, his fingers going a mile a minute.  “Reuben on roasted garlic challah, double sauerkraut, kettle chips, and a piece of flodni, if they have it, please.”

She paused, but who was she to tell anyone they shouldn’t eat their emotions? “You got it, boss.”


Viv saluted and left, grabbing her bag on the way and collecting three more orders from her co-workers by the time she hit the elevator.

The food at Szabó’s, the deli on the corner from her building, always smelled so good Viv never minded waiting in line during the lunch rush—plus, it gave her time to narrow her craving down to tuna salad on toasted rye, with as much  tomato and kosher dill as the staff would agree to pile on.

By the time she reached the counter, the flodni was gone, so she bought Stan the largest piece of dobos torta they had—she knew from experience that multiple layers of sponge cake, chocolate, and caramel couldn’t come close to curing heartbreak, but it might muffle it for a while.


We’re back to photos of cake, but at least you dodged the coffee bullet this week . . .  I was worried at one point whether the characters were spending too much time in restaurants or coffee shops, but have since decided that a) they actually don’t, it’s just how the eight sentences seem to line up each week ; b) I’m probably just writing what I know and ; c) I can fix it in edit.


*Just realized there’s an Izzy’s in Full Metal Librarian, too.  Huh.

Gorgeous image of the best freakin’ cake on earth courtesy of stu_spivack


40 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: Anti-Cupids (Dobosh)

  1. That cake would muffle any emotions!
    Thick greasy hamburger does it for me — with a cold draft beer.

    Later, you said, ” I was worried at one point whether the characters were spending too much time in restaurants or coffee shops.” I had a similar concern in my second book with the characters hanging out in a bar. So much of what happens in a story is between people, why should it matter where they are? Readers learn about the characters via dialogue, so who cares where they talk?

    • I usually go straight for the dairy products, Chip. 🙂

      You make a good point, though if your second book is the one I think it is, that bar was sort of a character in itself—a central hub and anchor.

      I suppose how characters react to food has become part of the story. But I do think I should find something else for them to do than fiddle with coffee cups and forks while they’re dialoguing.

  2. I love how you used the sense of smell in this snippet. I keep forgetting that smell is a powerful descriptive tool in writing. Good job!

  3. Sarah, I love this 8, and I’m pretty hungry now! 🙂 Everything about your writing works. It’s smooth–no stumbling over words, it’s packed full of information without feeling wordy! Nicely done 🙂

    We have a site maintenance issue with http://www.wewriwa.com. It will go offline for an indefinite period of time, and as long as it’s down, all wewriwa activity including sign up for 01/26/14 will be at
    http://www.wewriwa.blogspot.com The new linky list will be live tomorrow at 8:00 AM EST as usual. For the time being, please link back to http://www.wewriwa.blogspot.com in your posts. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    • Thank you, Teresa! I have to say, WeWriWa gives me the chance to do a little revising as I go. 😀

      Thanks for the heads up about the temporary move!

  4. I’ve never been one to turn down great food, and even wrote a blog post about using food in your writing. Incorporating food into a book not only adds greatly to the flavor of the story and its world, but can also say a lot about the characters. As a strict vegetarian, the sandwiches wouldn’t interest me, but I’d love to try that dessert.

  5. Great snippet — I love the details, especially standing in line giving her a chance to decide on what she wanted. I’m not a fan of sauerkraut, rye, or pickles, but I’ve been wanting chocolate cake for over a month now and that description did not help at all… I might have to break down and bake one.

    • Thanks, Paula! I may be the only person in the world who likes being in line at delis, just for the extra time to choose. 🙂

      I’m not a big sauerkraut fan, either—it’s better than cole slaw, which isn’t saying much, ugh—and rye is hit or miss, but kosher dill? Oh, yeah.

      If you decide to do a dobosh, send me a picture! 😀

  6. Now I’m A. hungry. B. curious about dill pickle soup and C. very curious about Zingerman’s, which I’ve always heard great things about. That’s a very effective snippet!

    • A. Good!
      B. It’s like an intensely dill-flavored potato soup. Mmmmmm.
      C. Go. Zingerman’s is an experience that shouldn’t be missed!

      And thanks, Linda! 😀

    • If I took out all of them, I really wouldn’t have much book left, so okay! 😀

      Eating my emotions is my favorite coping mechanism. I’m really good at it, too.

      Thanks, S.J.!

    • Flodni is kind of like apple-walnut baklava with poppy seeds, but slightly less portable. My favorite kind has apricots in it, too, but I don’t know if that’s traditional.

  7. Can I get a recipe for dill pickle soup? I should have put off reading this eight until after dinner because now I’m wish we had a Jewish-Hungarian deli around here…or any deli really. Some day I shall retaliate by posting my own food-related eight sentences. ;o) Enjoyed it!

  8. Love that line about food muffling emotions! It’s so true–for many people, I think.

    And while different people have different comforts (usually greasy or sweet), they still have them. I’m a sweets girl all the way. Anything chocolate, or a good homemade apple pie with real vanilla ice cream.

    Sadly, it can’t muffle the shame of overeating. But such is life.

  9. Another nice one! I’m all too familiar with eating my emotions so it puts me right in his shoes–and being an enabler, I get where she’s coming from too.
    As long as your characters aren’t performing the exact same actions each time, I don’t think it’s a problem if they eat/drink a lot–I have to do it every day too. 😉 I wonder what will soothe the pain from the 49ers losing?

    • Thanks, Charley! 🙂

      My characters always seem to fiddle with coffee cups, but at least there are different venues and everyone has a different attitude towards food, so there’s that characterization that Carrie-Anne and Caitlin mentioned. So I guess I’ll just keep on keeping on!

      And I think being a Seahawks fan would help a lot . . . Sorry, too soon? 😉

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