Try It On

When I disavowed the material world of steady paychecks to become an unpublished novelist, I threw away my teacher clothes. Well, not exactly. I donated a minivan of dress casual suits and two-inch pumps. Today, I work in my pajamas. I wear yoga pants to the grocery store, and if I have to go to my kids’ schools, I dress as the anti-teacher, cowboy boots with a gypsy skirt or Levi’s and a t-shirt with Chuck Taylors.

Now that I don’t care what a fifteen-year-old might say, I toss the predictable. I quit coloring my hair and grow it witchy long. I wear turquoise nail polish, and mix colors that clash. I avoid brown. A pair of taupe pumps is a safe choice. You can dress in the dark. But, pink lamé high tops are more interesting.

I like writing because I get to try things on. I wrote the scene where the school teacher taxied a 747 into handicapped parking. Even though the sequence died in early edits, it had merit. It showed me that I needed something big, something to punch the story into a different realm. My time wasn’t wasted, and best of all, it didn’t cost a thing to go for a test drive.

I wish I could say the same for all those boring clothes I dumped in the Goodwill box.

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