Sunday, October 13, 2013

Would You Recognize An Author if you Saw One

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


  1. Basic black works for everything - New York, Paris, and white is the other staple clothes item. Add a scarf for color if you like or simple jewelry. Pants are okay for office casual, it's one or two levels down from meeting-the-bosses suits. I've been asked if I'm part of the admin of a conference, just because I'm dressed a little more professionally than others. Many do judge a book or a human by its cover, sadly.

    Working at this school is giving you more fodder for posts, isn't it?

  2. D.G. -- I had to snicker. Yes, working at school has defintitely filled the coffers for blog posts.

    I have to really go through my closet again now the weather is changing. I'm all set for summer, but fall is a little tricky. I need a few more skirts I think. Pants and I are not friends if they're not Levi's.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Sigh. You have just reminded me that I should go clothes shopping next weekend for some upcoming author events.

    I hate clothes shopping. Maybe I should wear my gardening clothes. (Oh wait, that would be my sit-around-writing-on-the-computer-while-the-weeds-overrun-my-garden clothes.)

  4. 'Office casual' here is pretty casual - nice jeans and a top, sometimes t-shirts (but not baggy ones).

    I pretty much always wear trackpants at home, and dive into jeans when I go out. If I really like you I might wear a skirt or a dress ;-)

  5. It's a pain in the patootie to abandon our comfy clothes of choice so we can project a more "professional" appearance, isn't it? I dragged myself to the store to buy something appropriate for that signing gig a few weeks ago. Much to my surprise, dress slacks seem to be a lot looooonger than they were the last time I bought a pair back in the dark ages. I had to slacks labeled "short ankle-length" so they wouldn't drag on the ground. (Now, I KNOW I haven't shrunk yet...) (I don't think...)

    I hope you have (had?) a blast at the signing.

  6. Just a thought, but one of those classic little black dresses might be good for the signing. I choked at the Laura Ashley reference. Mine are long gone, but I so loved them! This weekend, I cleaned out the cedar closet holding my former work clothes. All pretty classic, as I worked for a "classic" retailer, but, long before my pink slip arrived almost five years ago, the company switched to casual work days, and some of those clothes had been hanging in that closet for a long time. Weeding through them was like an episode of "This is your life." I was sad to see them go, but in truth, most don't fit anymore. I have no idea what I will wear when I need something dressy.

    Office casual? Tailored pants or khakis, tunic sweaters, blouses or nice knit tops. TJMaxx all the way, baby, or Marshalls. :)

  7. Dianne -- Had to laugh "While-I-sit-letting-the-weeds-take-over-gardening-clothes". I haven't gone clothes shopping in so long I don't think I would even buy anything. I wouldn't know what to buy.

    Charlotte -- I have so many jeans that I would just love to wear, however, they just don't fit. I think I'll make a skirt out of them. Waist not, want not.

    Susan -- I have two pair of slacks -- one's too big, the other too small. Which is why I opt for skirts. Or shorts. At least I know they'll fit.

    Liza -- I wish we had a TJ MAXX or a good Marshall's nearby. But we don't. It's either the mall or nothing. And I hate the mall. I really do need to weed through the closet. Laura Ashley, as much as I love her, I think needs to go.


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