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The Best Things in Life are Free (for example, Dumpster Pants)

Google tells me that Urban Prairie Girl on Etsy makes what looks like superlative fantasy pant. The Fabric is correct, the pockets are a PLUS. But they need to be bigger. Good fantasy pants will hold at least two of you. I bet she could make them bigger.... This image is a link to her site.

SO, here is the painful, awful, so true truth that I am telling you, because I have no shame, apparently. Or maybe just a very bad filter.

Welcome to my overshare.

Walking home from the market, down a narrow riverside street in Avignon, I came upon HEAP of for truly French clothes.

They had once adorned the personage of a genuine French Lady. Now? They were in a box. The box was in the dumpster.

I would like to say that I saw the BEST PANTS ON THE PLANET right on the very most top of the box that was right on the toppiest most top of all the foul horrors deep deep down much deeper in the dumpster. But that would be a lie. The truth looked more like this.

Me: LOOK, Scott! For truly French clothes!

Scott: You mean that box of trash down in that revolting dumpster?

*I am already struggling the box out of the dumpster and smacking it down onto the pavement.*

Scott: Joshilyn. You are going to get hepatitis.

Me: FRENCH hepatitis.

Scott: Those people on the other side of the river are staring at you.

Me: *rummage rummage rummage*

Him: A car is coming. A CAR IS COMING. Can you please….

*obviously I cannot, and so he turns away and hides most of himself behind the dumpster.*


You know my fixation with fantasy pants, right? Fantasy Pants are by definition ENORMOUS. They have an elastic waist with a DRAWSTRING and are so huge that you and I could get in them together and the waist would stretch so that we could stand a comfortable distance apart and chat.

They are the only pants on the planet that a human being can reasonably be expected to wear when they draft a novel.

Or sculpt, my brother says. He works as a sculptor and he is the one who got me hooked on Fantasy Pants. He also wears a “Suffering Hat,” a specially tied bandana that prevents the miner’s style headlamp thing he wears for the detail work from burning his head.

Writers, mercifully, do not need Suffering Hats, just Fantasy Pants. Oh, and Airplane Socks, obviously. Airplane Socks are a part of the uniform that Sara Gruen added, and now I can’t do without them.They are usually pink, and VERY fuzzy, and SO cozy that they are like slipping your toes down into a welcoming flock of dear warm lambsies WHO LOVE YOU and who only want to actively cuddle your feet. Also, thanks to Lydia Netzer, I now require a A Real Hoodie. My Real Hoodies have too long sleeves and are REAL and make me write. My fave is a plaid Target bathrobe over one of two outsize soft shirts Lydia gave me.

SO once I have on my uniform, I look like a mental patient. But I am ready to draft.

My favorite Fantasy Pants, given to me YEARS back by Amy-Go, have long since fallen into raglets. I have made do with inferior black knit Mockpants for TWO BOOKS NOW, until, magically, IN THE FRENCH DUMPSTER, the first pair of REAL Fantasy Pants I have seen in a decade APPEARED!

They are a deep and roseate pink, HUGE in the waist but with a string that allows me to keep them up, and they are exactly the right amount of long, with the hem touching the floor and SUCH wide legs that when I stand up in them, they entirely hide my airplane socks.

And YES I washed them in bleach. Twice. And YES, upon first washing the fabric RAN and now I have a LOT of pink cotton underwear and socks, but whatever. I ran them alone the second time and I, quite frankly, may never wash them again lest they be damaged. They are for writing emergencies.

I can finally REALLY write again! I got 2,000 words this morning in a Fantasy Pants induced FRENZY. Although I do kinda feel sorry for whatever French writer lady is trying to drown herself in the Rhone because she is only now realizing she will never write again. Poor dear, to hurl away a pair of pants so CLEARLY full of magic.

17 comments to The Best Things in Life are Free (for example, Dumpster Pants)

  • Gaylin

    Those look like the perfect FANTASY pants for lollying about reading novels as well.

    Good find. Tres perfect.

  • I so covet those fantasy pants! They are chock-full of AWESOME! Oh, the things you will write! Well done, well done indeed!

  • Melissa

    I tried to write yesterday in my regular teaching piano lessons pants. I was wearing them because I’d been teaching piano lessons, and I don’t like to change clothes more than twice a day. I’d already changed from sleeping to yoga to piano. But I lasted for a total of 10 minutes. When I slipped into my writing pants (pajama pants that I can’t wear for sleeping because they’re so big they twist around my waist), I blasted through three chapters. Magic indeed.

  • Linda J

    You so rock those FRENCH(!!!) writing pants. I can also tell that your mental illness # is doing just fine, your hair is looking good and those footsies are still rocking the red pedi.

    France does you good.

    Welcome Home!

  • These are your lucky pants. You were meant to find them. Just tell your husband that his humiliation was worth it, because if you would have walked away from this gift, you would have been forever cursed.

  • How could you leave out the magic CARDIGAN? Mine is pilled, about 4 feet long, and has toggles in front. It is all that keeps my deadlines straight during winter. But mine are not novel deadlines, only smaller freelancing ones. So maybe it’s like that coin in Half Magic, that grants only half of your wish.

  • Brigitte

    Your husband’s reaction sounds like my husband’s, when we’re going through the toy aisles, and I’m pushing all the “Try Me!” buttons.

    Looks like they were perfectly good clothes, why were they in a dumpster? Don’t they have the equivalent of a Goodwill in France? It must mean those pants were MEANT to be yours!

  • DebR

    Well ok, clearly even if you got nothing else out of the trip to France (which I’m sure you DID) it would have been worth the time and money to get those pants!

  • Martha

    Those pants are hideous. I love them.

  • You are my hero! Way to go!

  • Those pants do look awesome. Dare I hope that your new pants mean less waiting time for your next novel? And less time suffering withdrawal for me? 🙂

  • Therese

    Best French souvenirs ever: the clothes-finding experience, the pants, and the resulting magical writing frenzy!!
    Quelle pêche!

  • Klint Demetrio

    They do look like a most excellent pair of pants. 🙂 Congrats on the find! ^_^

  • rams

    We are onto you. We are not to be distracted with Fantasy Pants. Fantasy Pants are merely an appropriately larger version of Pink Socks (to which you shamelessly and transparently allude) because you have told us NOTHING about France and now you are bracing us for the fact that the rest of life is whooshing back over you and never, no never again, are you going to mention France except as a rapidly diminishing probability and I am now going to go find that first pink sock I knit for you and its mate I may or may not have finished because I know a code when I see one and Fantasy Pants rhymes with I Can’t See France.

  • I sort of love that you now have ALL of the pink socks. I am beyond feeling taunted by pink socks. I am a pink sock zen master. I’m not sure how that happened, it surely wasn’t intentional, but there you have it. I believe that if there are stories about France to be told, they will be told. If you told us about your French dumpster dive, you will tell us other things.


  • Actually, I’m more interested in surreal football. It’s basically the same thing, except the game clock is always melting.

  • I am predicting a French setting for a new novel. . .or at least a French leading man. . .or protagonist. . .or the appearance of a Lion-Maned Concierge who is beleaguered by American teenagers drinking cleaning fluid gin and getting stuck under beds. Did the Derringer originally hail from France? No matter. . .it SOUNDS French. You could use a FRENCH GUN to get rid of the next person you kill in a novel. Also, the heroine could own a wine and cheese shop. . .with FRENCH wine that doesn’t give people headaches. Just sayin’.