[The auction for this Significant Object, with story by Jenny Davidson, has ended. Original price: 12 cents. Final price: $3.58.]
I blame it on the book: a pocket-sized lined notebook with a black matte cover, bound at the left-hand margin and with a band to hold it shut. I used to tuck a pen inside, a pen whose nib was narrow enough to inscribe my tiny Brontë-like lists of calories consumed and exercise taken. It came to be the case that I could no longer eat unless I had documented it beforehand — I remember the first day I noticed that physical reluctance in my esophagus, that hand-dependent hypergraphic inability to eat without having written.
As a child, I loved Beatrix Potter’s story of the two bad mice, Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca, who broke into the doll’s house where “the dinner had been bought ready-made, in a box full of shavings. There were two red lobsters, and a ham, a fish, a pudding, and some pears and oranges. They would not come off the plates, but they were extremely beautiful.” Tom and Hunca Munca smashed dinner when they found it could not be eaten; I keep the hot dog to remind myself that food does not have to be beautiful.