Eating Authors: Amber Bird

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Amber Bird

One of the things I did this past summer was fly to Indiana and participate in the Writer’s [sic] Symposium at GenCon. It was great fun and allowed me to hang out with some old friends and make some new ones. One of the new was Melanie Meadors, who earned my instant goodwill by running a roast of my editor. Flash forward a couple months and I get an email from Melanie telling me about a new author, Amber Bird. It seems Amber has a new book coming out from a small press, and could I find it in my heart to offer her a spot on EATING AUTHORS.

I had to admit that I didn’t know the name — actually didn’t know a thing about her — but I was open to the idea and as most readers here know I do like to champion small presses when I can. So I told her that if she’d send me an ARC of the forthcoming book I’d try to take a look. If I liked the book, then sure, I’d make room in the schedule and give her a slot.

And lo, here we are. Amber’s new novel, Peace Fire — book one of a proposed Peaceforgers series — debuts tomorrow from Barycentre Press. I still don’t know much about Amber Bird, other than to tell you that she’s in a band. And yes, she was the model for the “Elves of Deep Shadow” Magic: The Gathering card. And also that she can write an enjoyable book.

LMS: Welcome, Amber. FYI, you owe Melanie a cookie. But on to business: what’s your most memorable meal?

AB: This might not be your usual answer. I could list of loads of great meals, but I’m going to go for something a little easier for readers to replicate. (I get sulky when a food thing makes me crave something—or the idea of something—that I can’t actually get.) See, I have a complicated history with food… These days, my life is a kind of joyous, non-stop eating montage, but it used to be much more about not eating or seriously limiting what I ate. Long story short, I realised that needed to change and I took the steps to embrace what, for me, is a healthier approach. One big tenet of that is that I pay attention when my body says it needs or really wants something.

After years of not working that way, I think I wasn’t sure I believed myself when I decided on that approach. It took a couple years of diligently living this way, before I chose to believe me. Before I gave myself one (and only one) test, finally, to prove it.

Peace Fire

The other background you need here is that, growing up, because I was a problem child, sugar was very limited in our home. One of the ways that played out was that we didn’t buy sugary breakfast cereals (really, looking at their price, I suspect we couldn’t have justified the expense anyway). But! Every Christmas, my mum would pull out an envelope of coupons she had clipped for sugar cereals and each of us got to pick one. That box was ours. Christmas morning, we got to open it, root out the prize, and have the first bowl. It was our call whether or not we shared. (So, again, poor kids in a big family with a thing that was theirs? No small deal.) My go-to was Lucky Charms because it had the most marshmallows, or so all the varieties of marshmallow made it seem.

Fast-forward to an adult me, a couple years into trying to make herself believe that food has no morality and she can eat what she wants. I was walking through a Costco, down the cereal aisle, and my brain said, “We can really have anything? Then we want Lucky Charms.” And I swear, from the time I grabbed that massive box, all the way through paying and driving home, I had the biggest, cheekiest grin.

As soon as I was home, I pulled out a large mixing bowl, filled it with Lucky Charms and milk, and ate it sitting cross-legged on the floor. By that point, my smile had shifted to something more like “victoriously smug,” which is way easier to eat around than the cheeky grin. I ate until I was totally full. With no negative emotions, just glee and delight, swirling my spoon through the rainbow-coloured milk. When I finished, I remember whispering, “Oh my stars, I can eat what I want.”

Gourmet and exotic it was not. But it was what finally freed me to truly be able to enjoy any meal that tastes good and isn’t plagued by poor company. I have to love that.

Thanks, Amber. I wonder if everyone has that moment, that flash of insight that says, “I’m an adult now. I can choose to have ice cream for breakfast.”

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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