Monday, March 05, 2012

Dressed to Write

Writers do it in their pyjamas.  Of course, I can’t speak for all writers.  I do know of some who do not dress until mid-afternoon.  No names.  When writers mention not getting dressed until 3:00 in the afternoon it is a sign of a very productive day.
A well-known author, one of my favourites, uploaded to Facebook a picture of the sweater she wore while writing her bestselling novel.  Man, my pyjamas look better than that holey sweater.  Not that I would consider uploading a picture of my p.j.’s any time soon.
I suppose it depends on which part of the day you are most productive.  A favourite sweater might be something you wrap around yourself when you are pecking away at the computer at 2 a.m. 
I am not a nighthawk.  I am anxious to turn on the computer, coffee in hand, sometimes as early as five a.m.  More often than not, I become so involved in my writing that I don’t bother getting dressed.
The first embarrassing moment in my pyjamas happened when the mail delivery lady rang the doorbell.  Normally she leaves our mail in our roadside box.  This could mean only one thing− a parcel.  I can’t remember what parcel I was expecting but I had no choice.  I smoothed my bed head and swiped at possible mascara smudges.  Wearing a bright smile, I opened the front door; my greeting alert and chipper to dispel any notion that I was in bed at 1:00 in the afternoon. 
While I signed for the parcel, I said, excuse the pyjamas.  I work from home and  just...well...I... I note her disdainful expression−oh yes, no mistake−and my voice fades.  She clearly looked me up and down.  My wrinkled plaid flannels went under the microscope.  I almost read her mind.  Look at this lazy ##$% laying around the house all day.  I am out here in the wind and snow.  She was an older woman, well, older than me.  She never smiled.  Not once.  I want to defend myself by saying that I have done some of my best work in pyjamas, but I don’t.  Can’t win them all.
There are other times the doorbell rings.  Members of a religious group distributing pamphlets.  Always smiling and courteous.  Even though the dog is bouncing and barking non-stop.  They wonder if they might come in and talk.  No, not today, I explain.  I am working.  My attire never draws scornful glances.  They smile.  I smile back.  Do they believe me, or do they think I am making an excuse?  I am tempted to ask.
 Usually more than one adult comes to the door, always with an adorable toddler or two in tow.  A quick glance to the driveway normally reveals at least a couple more people in the waiting van.  This puzzles me.
If I invite them in, would they turn and wave to the others to join them?  Though curious, I do not ask.  It would be crowded in the small front room.  The dog sniffing everyone.  The kids trying to pet her. 
Would I offer them tea and coffee, cookies for the children?  I picture myself fluttering around, my flannels flapping and my slippers scuffing the kitchen floor.  Apologizing for not having fresh baked goods, putting the kettle on to boil...  It does not matter.  I am working and could not invite them in.
Since I changed the location of my office−do you remember the January 9th blog, The Write Space? − I work squirreled away in the basement storage room.  When that door closes, I hear nothing.  Well, I do hear the dog when she barks. 
I can usually tell by Lex’s bark what she sees outside.  If bicyclists go past the house, she emits a couple of woofs and is not interested enough to jump down off the bed.  If she spots another dog in the yard, there are ferocious barks followed by a heavy thump when her feet hit the floor.  A scurrying of toenails across the hardwood as she races from window to window. 
When a stranger is at the door, I hear noisy barking, non-stop.  If it is a friend, she gives a couple of welcoming barks, leaps to the floor, and she runs to the front door whimpering.
To be honest, since I started working downstairs, I don’t answer the door at all when I am writing.  I still answer the telephone.  It’s the what if....scenario.  Besides, they don’t see the pyjamas.
Am I more productive when I work in my pyjamas?  Beats me.  I am not going to get dressed to find out.

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