Cure for the (Science) Writer’s Block

Cure for the Common Writers Block 2013

“The Cure for the (Science) Writer’s Block”

I had some fun with alphabet soup to create this print. The joke is meant for science writers — folks who make their living explaining and reporting discoveries in science, tech and medicine.

Here’s a peek at the process. Amazingly, I was unable to find alphabet pasta at my chain supermarket, and the local Italian grocer had already closed for the night. So I had to go with canned soup instead.

Lesson learned: go with the vegetable stock version instead of the beef stock version. The fat in beef stock congeals at room temperature, compressing and distorting the pasta into squished, hard-to-read letters.

Either way, it would’ve been waaaaay easier to sorta and cook the pasta separately, instead of picking them out of canned soup with chopsticks. I had to laugh when the first open can yielded hardly any vowels, whereas the second can had vowels galore — it made the word brainstorming process interesting.

To get the pasta to sit atop the soup correctly, I used condensed tomato soup and added just enough water to get the desired consistency. I had to set the words and shoot fast before the hot soup cooled and formed a visible surface film.

After the shoot, the props had to be broken down… in my belly.


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