« Previous  
 Next »

Luskin: Nothing To Wear

06/27/11 5:55PM By Deborah Luskin
 MP3   Download MP3 

(HOST)  When her novel, Into the Wilderness, was recently awarded the Independent Publisher's Gold Medal for Regional Fiction, author and commentator Deborah Luskin was forced to confront an aspect of the writer's life she'd never had to consider before.

(LUSKIN)  I quit my day job in 2003, and have been writing blissfully at home ever since.  It would be inaccurate to say I work in my pajamas - the nightgowns I wear to bed are much nicer than my writing clothes, which consist mostly of black fleece leggings and old shirts.  Typically, I don these clothes in the dark, with the full intention of changing into something more respectable - like blue jeans and a sweater - after daybreak, especially if I have errands in the local village, and imperatively if I have appointments downtown.

But it's no secret I don't really like to leave home, and I often procrastinate until I'm too late to change into decent attire.  I've been known to apply lipstick while racing to an event, hoping that the novelty of make-up will deflect attention from my baggy knees.  Fortunately, life in my corner of Vermont makes "corporate casual" look like high fashion.

I do have a few good outfits, which I wear when I teach or give a book talk.  Since I rarely see the same students or audience twice, I've made do with one dress and one suit, and accessorize for variety.  Mercifully, it doesn't matter what I wear to talk on the radio. And on the rare date night, I dress up - in my black jeans.  These constitute my "good clothes" - the ones I'm not supposed to wear in the garden, or tend the chickens in.  But this is life in the country, and mud happens.

The few nice things I own that don't come from a catalog, I find at the thrift store.  I've bragged to my friends in the well-heeled professions that my whole wardrobe costs less than their weekly dry-cleaning bill.  Who needs business attire to walk to the post office to mail off submissions or collect rejections?

Turns out, every writer does, if they're writing, revising, rewriting and submitting to contests, to journals, to agents or publishers.  These writers need something to wear for that moment that seems impossible: acceptance.
That moment happened to me recently, when I learned that a book I wrote won a prize.  I enjoyed successive moments of disbelief and delight as I read and reread the citation.  And then I focused on the fine print: "New York City" and "business casual attire."  That's when terror struck: if I had to show up to collect it, what in my closet was I going to wear?
comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter