Monday, January 18, 2016

What to wear to work?

My relationship with clothes.

I know. You thought I was going to write a blog on my relationship with my pants. I have bigger issues. My relationship with my clothes extends from head to toe, top to bottom. Sitting around all day writing takes a lot of effort, when it comes to fashion.

Admit it, you think authors look like this while they write!

I’m not sure where these relic memories come from. Generational? Or do we sit around and think that to be successful, we have to look a certain way, or that if you write a best-selling novel (or twenty) and you can afford a fancy office and wardrobe.

The secret, well, at least my secret, to a successful day of writing is to wear this:

And James Patterson agrees with me – well, at least the pictures I trolled on the internet for, concur.

Okay! Not pajamas, but not a suit, and not behind a desk, and he certainly looks comfy.
And why is this? There are reasons beyond being comfortable.

1)      If my clothes are too tight bad things happen to characters. They get into arguments with friends, lose their jobs, worry over gaining weight, wonder if they overdid it the night before.

2)     If my clothes don’t keep me warm, the sunny day the characters are meant to frolic on the beach in Saint Tropez turns into a rainy day in Plattsburgh, New York, getting a flat tire. Not to say that Plattsburgh isn’t a lovely place, but it ain’t Saint Tropez.

3)     If my clothes keep me too warm, the sunny day in Saint Tropez, turns from characters frolicking on the beach into people bickering under a beach umbrella. (I once wrote a scene where ten people managed to fit under one beach umbrella and whine about sand in their crevices, before I realized I needed to turn down the heat in my house.)

4)     If my clothes don’t let me easily move from ‘posture-perfect-sitting-upright’ to sitting ‘crisscross-applesauce’ then emotional moments, where the character is supposed to slither down into a heap, turn into sequences where the character stoically buttons her jacket and stiffly walks out of the room. I particularly like the word slither.

5)     If my feet get cold (yes, when I get dressed, I make sure I have layers on my feet) then it’s game over. Nothing goes right in anyone’s world if my feet are cold. High heels break, blisters from hot sandy beaches erupt, budgets are blown on trendy shoes, a rogue wave knocks someone on their keester. And so it goes.

6)     If my hands get cold… This is the trickiest of them all. My hands. Cause’ if my hands are cold, then I can’t type, but I can’t type if I wear gloves. By now, you’re wondering if I live at the North Pole. Nope. I don’t. But you try typing all day and see if your hands don’t get cold. ACTUALLY, they rarely do. I type so fast and furiously, with all the perfectly crafted prose demanding to be transferred from brain to paper, that I can barely keep up. Writing turns out to be the best hand exercise – ever!

It turns out that a career in writing lends itself best to hand exercise and the acquisition of pajamas. Yup. I write wearing pajamas. My standard outfit: fleece pajamas (top and bottom), with a tank underneath, wool socks, slippers, a hat is nearby (that is mostly to put on when I Skype with someone and so that I can disguise my bedhead), and on rare days, when it is really cold, a cup of hot water I can wrap my hands to warm them up.

Pretty sexy, no? My family doesn’t even flinch anymore when I show up places dressed as if I am getting ready for bed. Well, not entirely true. Now that I have teenagers, they balk. A little.

While people who have office jobs dream of wearing pajamas all day, I find myself in clothing stores, that have NO pajamas, fondling clothing that have structure – pleats, ruching, top-stitching, embroidery, overlays.

When I was a little girl, in the 70’s, I remember clearly thinking that old people wear pants with elastic waistbands. By this definition, I have been old since I was in my thirties. Speaking of that, I am about to have a business meeting with my editor, so I have to go put on my dress-up writing clothes, yoga pants and a sweatshirt.

Thanks for reading.