Let’s Share a Meal: The Importance Food in Storytelling

Food is a crucial part of daily life for every person — and it’s a vital part of our cultural experience. What kinds of food we consume, how we consume them, and with whom says a lot about us as people and the community in which we live.

In storytelling, food can play an equally important role, revealing information about the characters and their world. Does the character return alone home to an empty fridge and toss cup of noodles in the microwave? Or do they sit down to a large meal with their family every evening? The types of food and how the characters interact with each other — isolated or austere and conversationally cold or warm and chaotic — reveals a lot about their situation, their relationships with one another, and their world.

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Culture Consumption: January 2024

Here’s my month in books, television and games.


The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro is a gorgeous horror novel. On the surface, Alejandra has a picture perfect life — a handsome husband, three beautiful children, and a large house in which to care for them. But the image presented doesn’t tell the whole story. Alejandra is dragged down by her life and the expectations placed upon her, with the daily tasks of caring for her husband and children allowing no space for her to be or think for herself. Worse is the sense of guilt she feels for being unhappy in the first place, because what does she have to be unhappy for. As the depression oozes around her, it dredges up something deep, deep from darkness, something ghostly and deadly stalking her and feeding her despair — and if she can’t face what haunts her, then it will destroy her.

The Haunting of Alejandra explores the nature of healing through therapy, connecting with ancestors and loved ones, and finding one’s inner strength. Alejandra’s journey is beautiful and moving. This is a book that on the one hand presents the horrors of ancient monsters, generational trauma, and depression, while on the other hand giving me such a sense of hope.

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Books I Loved in 2023

It’s always a good year for reading, whenever I’m reading consistently and pursuing the genres and works that I’m passionate about — and as a result, I delved into some phenomenal reads in 2023. I completed a total of 40 books in a variety of genres, with a mix of horror, fantasy, poetry, and books on creativity (mostly game writing) rounding out some of my favorite reads of the year.

For those interested, my lists of games and movies and TV that I loved over the past year are also up on my blog, Once Upon the Weird.

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We Made It Another Year

Well, friends. I have found myself a new home for my newsletter. After looking at my options (regarding UI, style, and price, I went with Beehiiv. So, here we are — shiny and new in time for the new year.

With the new platform, I’ve changed the name of the newsletter to Infinite White Space, representing approaching the blank page as a creative with all the opportunities, possibilities, and anxiety that that implies for writers, artists, and creators.

I’m also thinking of merging my newsletter with my blog, so you could be seeing a bit more from me — though I don’t plan to post more than once a week (and let’s be real, it will probably be much less than that).

At any rate, it’s that time of year, so here are my thoughts on 2023 and how I’m looking forward to 2024.

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Culture Consumption: November 2023

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, television, and games.


“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus enters into the magical world of a circus unlike any other. It’s a beautiful place that feels like entering into a kind of monochrome fairyland, with each and every exhibit dressed in black and white. And indeed, the circus is more magical than it seems — because it lies at the center of a magical competition in which two students of magic are pitted against each other in a years-long competition. The story beautiful weaves through time and explores multiple character perspectives to provide a wonderful

Poetry as Spellcasting, written and edited by Tamiko Beyer, Destiny Hemphill, and Lisbeth White is a beautiful collection of essays and poetry about the ways in which poetry connects to and reflects the sacred, spiritual, and magical — and the ways the author use the act of writing poetry as a sacred practice, a form of healing, a method for connecting with ancestors and community, and a path toward building a better future. In addition to the essays and poetry, the book includes prompts and suggestions to delving into poetry while staying grounded and connected to spirit.

In the essay “Articulating the Undercurrent,” Dominique Matti writes:

“I learned that it was possible to feel what one could not otherwise know. And that I could transmit feeling where rational explanation failed, by using poetry like a lyre — plucking invisible energetic strings. I discovered that where no one would cry for me, my poetry could conjure easy tears. And when my spirit could not represent itself in mundane gesture, it could rise up and shout in verse.”

In “Text of Bliss,” Kenji C. Lui writes:

“There is a time and place for the poetry of comfort and contentment, the poem that pleases aesthetically even if the subject is difficult. Beyond that, I think my poetry goal is to break something. Not in the sense of something broken in my interior, a confession and healing, but instead a methodical attempt to

break certain aspects of

this world.

. . . to bring to a crisis [their] relation with language.

In “Poetry as Prayer,” Hyejung Kook writes:

“Rilke says, ‘Every angel is terrifying.’ But what if you are the angel? What if the power you are afraid to call upon and know is your own power? Consider the possibility that the outward address of poetry as prayer was actually an inner invocation, a tapping into our own divine and enlightened self.”

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