Archive | The Fatness

Writing The Fatness

The Fatness

Click the image to get it at Amazon!

I’m not sure how interesting it is for readers to know the story behind the story, but I thought I’d share my experiences with writing this book.

This one was personal.

I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life, so I found it quite difficult to write a humorous account of what it would be like to be imprisoned for your weight.

Really difficult.

As is the case for many of my novels, the idea for The Fatness first came to me, in a dream. I’d been reading The Obesity Myth, by Paul Campos. It’s an eye-opening non-fiction about the bad science surrounding the idea of the obesity “epidemic.” This was sometime in 2005, the year ENC Press published my first book The Amadeus Net.

So that’s a horrible notion, I thought. Concentration camps for fat people. That’s terrifying. And strangely compelling. I could see people thinking this was actually a good idea, policy wise. But I trust my readers to know satire when they see it, so I wrote four chapters…

They were terrible. There was nothing funny about the book. It wasn’t biting satire, it was just bitter.

I made several other attempts, all failures. Six years ago I even got as far as completing an outline and a large chunk of a draft. But it wasn’t really what I wanted the book to be. It was strained and really not funny in a way that was compassionate for the inmates of the Calorie Reduction Centers.

Then four years ago I got serious about my own weight issues. I worked with two wonderful personal trainers and got my weight down below the dreaded 30 BMI for the first time in years, and for some reason, that gave me the ability to write the book. I think I needed to understand the process of losing weight so that I could communicate it properly. Within the course of a year I managed to produce a draft of the book I felt was good.

The following year I worked with my editor and produced two more drafts. Then my life got really complicated. My long-term relationship ended, my dog died, and I started a new and extremely challenging work position. (Sounds like a bad country and western song, doesn’t it?) So it took a few more years until I was ready to start the publishing process. Yeah, sometimes it takes that long.

This is the longest gestation period for a book I’ve written. By comparison, my first novel, The Amadeus Net, was a breeze. It only took 10 years from start to finish.

But I think it’s the best book I’ve written (so far) and the positive reviews seem to back up that feeling. I’m particularly pleased that readers feel the book is satirical, yet has a big heart that is compassionate for people struggling with weight issues. As the book taught me, there’s no easy answers.

Learn more about the book here.

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The evolution of the fat cell

McDonalds arches

The average human has 40 billion fat cells. These tiny, glistening, oleaginous buggers are designed to store energy for when we need it. Along with the brain, the liver, the pancreas and the stomach, fat cells manage our energy needs as well, maintaining constant communication through our blood system. This system is highly efficient, and evolved over millions of years, during most of which humans were always looking for food.

And long before the invention of the cheeseburger.

Alltop loves a good Royal with Cheese. Photo by Keoni Cabral.

Fat cells galore, and what we can learn from them

Fat Fact
eyelidEvery part of the human body contains fat cells, except for:

  1. the eyelids
  2. parts of the esophagus
  3. the brain
  4. the penis.

From this we can learn three things:

  1. the term “fat head” is grossly inaccurate, scientifically speaking;
  2. people who fetishize eyelids and esophagi are probably on a low-fat diet;
  3. porn dialog need an update.
Alltop thinks porn is just fine mister! Photograph by peasap on Flickr.