Monday, February 21, 2011

The Glamorous Life?

This weekend I’m heading to a writer’s conference in Atlanta. I’m really excited about getting away, connecting with other writers and focusing on my own creative endeavors, at least for a weekend. So what do you think I’m doing to get prepared? Polishing up first pages? Nope. Finishing up a manuscript? Kind of, but not for the conference. Thinking of pertinent questions that I can ask the esteemed panel members? Maybe later in the week. What am I thinking of now, like, right now, top of the list important?


Okay before you roll your eyes, I’ll tell you this – I’ve been working feverishly on my novel, barely looking up, forsaking much of my other activities, and noshing on whatever is just quick and easy and within my reach – all because I want to get my first draft out. One day, a few weeks ago, in the midst of a rather prolific writing jag I had to take a bathroom break (because, you know, there’s only so much you can put off) and as I finished up washing my hands I looked in the mirror and saw…well, I didn’t really recognize my reflection.

I mean, I did, but I didn’t. A good six inches of my roots were showing, and not only that, my bangs were non-existent, as a matter of fact my hair was just pulled back in a ponytail because it just tends to bother me when it’s in my face. And I'm not even all that sure I brushed it that morning. All I could think was When was the last time I got my hair cut?

Oh, right, September, right before the last writer’s conference I attended. Even my surfer dude muse was like…I say this with love babe, but get yourself to a stylist, pronto.

Then I took a look at my getup. Mind you, it’s the winter and it’s been c-o-l-d. Cold outside, cold in my house. I was in head to toe fleece. Black fleece pants which had no business seeing the light of day and my husband’s forest green The North Face fleece jacket, which is oversized and looks like it adds about twenty pounds to my frame. On my feet I wore my old pair of Ugg slippers (because I do have a new pair, but my Ugg obsession could be another blog post) and back at my computer, to top the look off, I put on my gray woolen fingerless gloves because my hands were getting cold as I typed. Oh, and scarf (cashmere at least), wrapped twice around my neck…all peppered with my Jack Russell Terrier’s white fur.

In a word, I looked…squirrelly. It doesn’t help that when I’m writing, I walk around muttering to myself, making odd expressions to see if I can come up with some more eloquent way of describing a furrowed brow. Which you know, is all fine…when you’re sitting at your computer. But stepping out, into the real world…into the light of day? Major damage control here!

Spending my days as a schleppanista has been great for my writing, but not for my sense of style. This event, after all, is called “The Spring Mingle” which sounds more like a dance than writing conference, but even the word spring makes me want to feel pretty. Light. And mingling is not something one can do properly in head to toe, dog-haired covered fleece. So yes, for the time being my preparation for this conference has to do with vanity.

Which made me wonder…is everyone this way? Do you think Papa Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald showed up to their...well, typewriter or notebook looking less than dashing? How do you show up at your computer? In jammies with a mug of coffee? Heels and pearls? Smoking jacket, anyone? Do tell!


  1. Well, my "office" is my bed...which means my "uniform" is pajamas. Which is fine unless I have to leave the house. And if I run into people I know, I always preface things with, "Oh, I've been writing." Like that's an excuse not to shower or something...
    So, yeah, I'm with you :)

  2. Megan...uh-oh, wait so writing isn't a good excuse to not shower? :D

  3. I was at my in-laws' over the weekend. My niece confiscated the blow dryer I keep there, and I'm three weeks overdue for a haircut. So my air-dried head isn't looking very perky. I figured I'd jump in the shower when I got home. But I hadn't written in a few days. The shower can wait.

  4. Robin,

    You're so funny. I loved this!
    I met you at the SCBWI-Conference in Charlotte, NC. Is that the last conference you attended or not?

    Linda A.

  5. J.A.- Ah, so you're in the writing trumps shower camp too, yay! I finally dragged my butt to the salon on Saturday, so I'm good for another six months.

    Linda - Thanks! Yes I met you at the SCBWI conference in Charlotte. That was a really great conference. Did some preening for that one too!

  6. There are days when the only reason I shower is because I wouldn't be able to face my husband when he got home at night if I were still in my pajamas.

  7. Ha!
    What we really sacrifice for our work :)

  8. Working in your pj's or nightgown is definitely a perk. No more having to shower and dress by a certain time! The first few months after I left my school library, I resented the morning I had an appointment and had to face the world on a schedule.

  9. Oh, I can so relate. I finally got my hair done on Saturday and it made me a normal, un-cranky wife and mom again. Enjoy the mani-pedi and the conference!

  10. Well I'm really glad to know I'm not the only one who sometimes forsakes personal grooming for writing!

    So let's see no showers and working in your pjs...not a bad gig, huh?

  11. Hahaha, I'm late to the party, but I can SO relate. I have a good friend who's a photographer, and when I sold my book, she said, "Oooh, I'll come over and do some shots for your website and stuff."

    So we set up a time, and she called beforehand and said, "Now, I want to get you in your natural writing habitat. Tell me what that's like."

    I said, "Well, normally I'm in old sweats with coffee stains, sitting on the futon in the basement, surrounded by the toys that my toddler didn't clean up. Sometimes I throw an old afghan over me, but sometimes not. Usually there's a mug of coffee balanced on the arm where the dog chewed the futon frame when she was a puppy."

    Yeah, needless to say, there's nothing natural about the pictures. :-)

  12. I'm envious of all you happy bed heads out there. As a writing teacher, I have to look...and smell...presentable to my students, which takes a hit on my personal writing time.