Monday, July 21, 2008

Cravings

Way back in March, when I flew to Arkansas for a writers' retreat and booksigning weekend, my husband made a request: "Go to a gas station or convenience store and pick me up half a dozen or so Cherry Mashs." The moment the words left his mouth, MY mouth started to water. Um. I had to have one, too. Immediately.

You see, having grown up in the South, we both developed a taste for the confectionery delight known as Cherry Mash. However, we've only been able to find the delectible treat south of the Mason/Dixon line.

So, I scoured the local Gas-n-Go, prepared to clear their Cherry Mash stock. . .to no avail. There were no Cherry Mash treats to be found in town. You can imagine the pout I got when I announced I'd failed in my mission.

A week or two later, a package arrived in my mailbox from Susan May Warren. She had been with me on my Cherry Mash quest, so even though she'd never had the privilege of tasting this treat, when she spied one lone red-and-white package in a Missouri gas station, she bought it and lovingly shipped it off to me.

I did what any good wife would do. I gave the whole Cherry Mash to my salivating husband. And then went off to pout. I've questioned my act of self-sacrifice ever since.

The more I thought about the fact that I couldn't find a Cherry Mash anywhere in Ohio, the more I HAD to have one. As the weeks and months ticked by, my craving grew rather than diminished.

Finally, I broke down and clicked my way through an online scavenger hunt until I found a supplier who could satisfy my fixation--as long as I was willing to pay a "warm weather surcharge" to insure that my candy didn't melt in transit.

Today our box of SIXTY Cherry Mash treats arrived at our door. I promptly savored one (one of these cloying delicacies is plenty, believe me!) before letting my husband in on my splurge and sharing my box of chocolate-covered heaven with him.

Our cravings will be sweetly satisfied for at least a week or so now. (Shush! Don't tell my Jenny Craig consultant what I'm up to. I'll have to treadmill an extra hour a day to work these things off, but it is SO worth it.)

This past week, I submitted my judged entries for the ACFW Genesis contest. Overall, the entries showed promise. However, often the signs of a novice writer were evident. For example, I noted a tendency for pre-published authors to immediately satisfy a reader's craving for information or answers. They front-load the main character's complete family history in the opening chapter. Or introduce the entire cast of characters in the first two pages.

The mystery authors whose books I most love to read will create a craving for information or clues and then intensify those cravings by withholding the answers as long as possible. At just the right moment, when the reader can't stand the temptation any longer, their desire for knowledge is satisfied. Aaahhh. There's nothing sweeter. Not even a Cherry Mash!

11 comments:

Mary Connealy said...

How are you with a BING candy bar? Same thing.

Sixty???

Not only am I ashamed of you, I'm also now starving for my own candy bar.

Susan Downs said...

I've never heard of a BING. Now you've got me curious!

Janet Spaeth said...

Oh, there is nothing quite like a Cherry Mash. I love them!

Now you're making me want one. That and a mystery novel. Guess I'll have content myself with a Nut Goodie, which is made, I do believe, in St. Paul. Yum yum yum.

Cara Putman said...

Great way of putting it, Susan!

Cara Putman said...

Umm, never had a cherry mash though :-) Maybe you'll have to bring them to ACFW :-)

Kim S. said...

W have an abundance of Cherry Mash in Kansas. It's Daddy's favorite, so I buy bags of them all the time. But yep...super sweet. One is plenty!

NancyMehl said...

My mother and I loved Cherry Mashes. In fact, when times were tough, our special treat was a Cherry Mash. She passed away in 1984, but whenever I see a Cherry Mash I think of her.

BTW - I can usually find them at Cracker Barrel restaurants!

Nancy

The Write Life said...

I found this post pretty funny. My parents come down from Missouri in January and my main request was a cherry mash! Mom brought all the store had, about 8. I cut one in fourths to share with my kids, and hid the rest.

Later, I ate a whole one, but it was SO rich. By the time I got to the second one...I wasn't sure I missed them quite as much.

I think I might have a couple left, too. I looked the other day and couldn't find them, so maybe my kids are on to me.

My dh doesn't have the same sweet tooth, so they're safe with him.

Guess I'll have to send another request back home. I didn't know anyone else even knew what they were!

So tell me, do you eat all the chocolate off first and then the inside? I guess that could be why the last part is SO sweet.

Paige

Mary Connealy said...

You've never had a Bing candy bar?

It's a Cherry Mash exactly...maybe I'll bring one to conference.

Well, maybe I'll bring sixty.

Susan Page Davis said...

When we go to Delaware we have to take a certain relative a case of Moxie. Apparently we New Englanders hoard it. Oh, and another relative in Texas had me ship her a box of Maypo, if you can believe that. NOT my personal cravings.

Marcia Gruver said...

You're a convincing writer, Susan. You made me desperate to try a Cherry Mash. I'm in the south, but I've never heard of them. So off to Amazon I go. I'm now the proud owner of six 12 oz. bags of Cherry Mash Minis, or will be when they arrive. Please tell me they taste the same.

I'm sure Cherry Mash stock has gone through the roof this week. :)