If Danny Meyer Can Do It…

As you may have already surmised, I obsess about food. It is constantly on my mind, whether in terms of what’s for dinner, what’s in season, what I’m craving, or where I want to eat.

Until recently, I used the website Calorie Count to keep track of what I had eaten over the course of the day and what I could healthily indulge in — though I confess that everything kind of went off the rails recently. Well, it’s high time I get back on that horse, I think, and I hope you don’t mind if I use this site as a means of semi-publicly humiliating myself.

My friend Beth once told me that it takes three weeks to form a habit; whether or not this is true is an entirely different story altogether. All I know is that New York Magazine has been a very unlikely source of weight-watching inspiration for me. Last spring, the publication printed what they called “The Fashion Week Food Diaries,” in which a pair of models, a show producer and an Elle editor chronologically listed their consumption for a day; this week, the magazine featured a piece with Danny Meyer which follows a week in his dietary life.

So, here’s to you, New York. I’ll record everything I eat over the course of a week and write it up for all of you to see. Starting tomorrow. Because today was just plain shameful.

Lois Lowry at Porter Square Books.

This morning I went to see Lois Lowry speak at the bookshop around the corner from my office. If ever you hear of her having a reading in your neighborhood or speaking at an event nearby, I really urge you to make the time in your schedule to go, as she is thoroughly captivating.

The audience was comprised mostly of children, which was nice because this was clearly a group that enjoyed reading. A small disclosure: being around such a large gathering of kids was more than a little strange for me because it was one of the few times that I stood (or sat, as was the case here) taller than most of the crowd. I’m barely over five feet; something like this is highly unusual for me.

Interestingly, Lowry didn’t come to the bookstore with notes, or even a copy of her latest work, The Willoughbys. She simply launched into talking about its plot and themes after grabbing a the display book off of the table next to her.

“Let me see if I can find the right part quickly,” she said more than once, flipping through the pages. And each time she found exactly what she was looking for, and read the excerpts in such a lively and expressive way that I wanted to curl up with a mug of something warm and sweet, and listen to her read everything she had ever written.

Her presence was so impressive. Lowry effortlessly commandeered the attentions of what seemed to me like sixty kids, all the while telling funny anecdotes and maintaining a very relaxed and laid-back attitude. She did this even as she fielded questions, some of which she must have answered countless times at other similar events.

I didn’t stick around for the book signing; like I said, there were a lot of kids, several of whom had multiple books for Lowry to sign. It happens I’ve already got a signed copy of A Summer to Die, which is the first of her books that I ever read, back when I was in grade school. It’s also the first of Lowry’s novels. I recently reread it while I toiled away on my pages; I’m happy to report that even though it was originally published in 1977, it still rings true. Which is all I can wish for any writer, established or otherwise.