Good Morning. As you all know, I've been involved in a project for my daughter's school. WHEN SUCH FRIENDS WERE MET was released a few weeks ago, and the paperback is having its debut at the Fall Festival this weekend.
However, most people at the school still don't know that I'm an author. They just think of me as...well, truthfully, I think I'm like everyone else -- just someone's mom.
As we've been promoting this book for the festival book signing, the woman who runs the after school care program came into the office one day and wanted to know what this "book" was about. I was standing there, but the secretary decided to fill her in. And then the secretary turned to me and said, "And here's our very own writer-in-residence."
Well, "Betty" looked at me and just about freaked out. "You wrote this?" "You're the writer everyone's been talking about?" Of course, I couldn't deny it. Although I had kind of wished I was wearing something other than my gardening clothes. Being my daughter's mother is one thing, being an author is another. I'd like to look like I'm smart enough to be a writer and not someone who's been attacked by an angry mud mob.
I chose a pen name a long time ago so that I would always be able to keep my writing life and my real life separate. Not that I ever expected to be famous, but in today's crazy world and social media insanity, I just wanted to keep some semblance of privacy. So far it's worked.
Until last week when Betty found out I was Anne Gallagher. I knew it was going to happen. I knew people would have that reaction "YOU'RE a WRITER. You wrote that." See, I don't look like a writer, not that I know what a writer is supposed to look like. (We always joke on the blogs that a writer is the one with a coffee cup in one hand, a red pen in the other, wearing yoga pants and a baggy shirt.)
Well, I don't have yoga pants, sweat pants, or pajama pants, but I do have gardening clothes. And firewood clothes, and housecleaning clothes. I have two pair of work-boots, a couple of pair of colorful sneakers, and lots and lots of shorts and stained t-shirts. (It seems I've been painting the rooms in my house every weekend for the last year and a half.)
What's also all too true, is that my closet is filled with clothes from ten and twenty years ago -- way before my daughter was born, when I was working. At least I had the good taste to buy "classic"... one can never go wrong with several little black dresses. However, all those clothes are way too "dressy" to wear to school.
I need "office casual" but I have no idea what that means. And if I did know what it means, I'm sure I'd need new shoes as well. (My shoes are outdated as well -- square toes, mary-janes, chunky heels). I guess I'm one of those women who always thinks those styles will come back around again and then I won't have to buy anything. However, we all know that doesn't happen all that often.
And this issue of what "a writer is supposed to look like" wouldn't have been on my mind at all except I saw a writer blog who showed pictures of a book signing and the author was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. She looked like she was going to a rock concert instead of reading and signing books. Uh, I didn't want to look like that.
I think I'll blame this issue on my mother. When I was a kid, I always had to dress nice if we were going out in public. "You never know who we might run into. I don't need you embarrassing me by looking like a slob. And change your underwear-- you never know, you may get hit by a bus."
(Though this was back in the 70's so it shows just how far back this has been stuck in my memories.)
Anyway, I think for the fall festival I'm going to wear my black skirt and white blouse with my black boots. Yes, I might look like a waitress, but you can never go wrong in black and white. As for traipsing around school, I don't know. I'm going to have to find some basic skirts and tops.
Maybe I'll be lucky and the "Laura Ashley" look will come back around. That was big in the 80s and my closet is full of flowery dresses. And I would be able to wear my Mary-Jane's again.
Tell me -- What do you wear to go out in public? Do you have a "go-to" outfit that you wear for every occasion? Can someone explain what "office casual" is?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013