April 9, 2008

On Plumage (Part 3)

Part 1
Part 2

SO, that was four years ago…And you know what? I hate all those clothes I bought that got me through the gods tour. Yes. Hate. Truly I do. I MAY be a spring in the face, but Best Beloveds, you better buh-leeeeve I am a WINTER in my heart. It’s black V-neck knit country down UNDER my skin in the all the parts that matter. Sorry, George.

After that first tour, I started wearing the Spring clothes less and less and less without really noticing. I picked up bits from Ann Taylor Loft over time to SUPPLEMENT the George-drobe, and those “supplemental” pieces were by phases more and more color-challenged and discreet. The bright colors began MIGRATING themselves to the back of the closet, first mixing with and then hiding behind the old butt-tastically ugly bridesmaids dresses and the wedding peignoir and the just-in-case-blizzards-attack-Georgia coat.

By the time I toured for Between, my clothes were mild-mannered Clarkella Kentess sorts, with only a few pink Super-girl pieces peeking out around the edges. Those leftovers stood out in my closet like peacock babies who have been thrust as eggs among a duck colony, and who will never never never be happy in the lake water.

Right before I toured for The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, I gathered them all up and gave them to a pretty friend who likes colors. Apparently somepeople do. *shrug* I toured in black jeans and pin striped brown slacks and simple print skirts with an assortment of muted tops that – due to a speck of residual George-influece– now include mossy greens and some navy and EVEN deep turquoise among the brown and black. (Worn with, of course, a DISGUSTING array of boots and TRULY hawt ballet flats that caused me to have to go up a suitcase size so I could bring them all. HEE!) And you know what? I admit I LOOKED better in the spring clothes. But I am HELLA happier and more comfortable NOW.

jossnotspring.jpg

Still, I <3 George forever, because here is what I got out of my costume-y George-wear year: A character to play who wasn’t terrified. I even had a name for her. Ramona. Yes, for the little sister from the Beezus books. In those clothes, I was Ramona-the-Brave. I could go out and meet booksellers and readers and be Confident Ms. Ramona the Real Grown Up and Writer in her hot pink embroidered skirt, and I was FEARLESS because if people HATED the woman they saw, it so CLEARLY was not ME that I couldn’t possibly take it personally.

Now? I seem to have shed Ramona in the same way I shed the clothes. She wandered to the back of my mental closet and nestled herself back behind my total horror of roach feet touching me and the mental tick that causes my constant hyperbole, and I think she may have gone so far as to have left the building without even a thank you, thankyouver’much. I haven’t looked. She doesn’t interest me anymore. I don’t NEED her, and I don’t need clothes that let me “Dress up and pretend to be a novelist.”

Because, see, I AM a novelist.

And I don’t have to pretend to be a confident person who rilly rilly likes herself because…

Well. I’m a novelist. Baby steps, people. BABY STEPS!

The fact that it has taken me four years and three books to GET even this far is…well, TRAGIC. But I DO have a very high mental illness number, and prefer to think that the miracle is NOT the fact that it took me almost half a decade, but that I made ANY SORT OF PROGRESS OF AT ALL. I went on tour for this book as JUST MY LOUD SPAZZY SPOCK-LOVING HEHAW-DONKEY-LAUGH-HAVING GEEKED OUT DRINK-KNOCKING-OVER AWKWARD TWITCHY SELF. If you were kind enough to come out to meet me, then you actually did. This seems to indicate that GIVEN ENOUGH SPACE and time, I can…

Scott just poked his head in and said, “ARE YOU GROWING? ARE YOU GROWING AS A PERSON??? AGAIN???”
He likes to try and catch me growing as a person, because then I make cross eyebrows at him and say, WE DO NOT DO THAT HERE.
And we don’t. But we do, apparently, get a little teeny bit more comfortable inside our freaky skins.
SO THERE.

Posted by joshilyn at April 9, 2008 5:20 PM
Comments

Ohmilord--my bazoombas, they're practically a Mighty Rack. Dr. Atkins, here I come!!!!

Posted by: Sara at April 9, 2008 5:29 PM

You look cute in these pictures too. It's all about what makes you feel good in your own skin.

If I ever get a novel published (well, first I have to write it!) I will need a confidence-costume too.

Posted by: Alison at April 9, 2008 5:39 PM

I have to say that I like the brown on you. It goes well with your hair. And the green looks great, too. Anyway, if you're not comfortable in your clothes, it's hard to be comfortable, period.

Posted by: Caryn at April 9, 2008 7:22 PM

Ok, so let me tell you what I was going to write to you after I got a chance to meet you on the tour. First let me say I didn't write it because I was afraid it was going to sound wrong. So if it sounds WRONG, assume what you read is not at all what I meant. Ok, ready? Here goes.

What I expected when I went to the book signing is a perfect, proper, southern lady who would have the total right to look down on me with my mousy hair and my guttery accent and my sentences that almost always start or end in prepositions. But you were so much more humanly cool than that. And you didn't even almost look at me like I stepped in something on the way to the signing.

Here is where it gets tricky. You looked like a friend, a next door neighbor or another mom. Professional and smart, but comfy and familiar too. <-a good thing. A compliment. But dude! I asked to take a picture with you, you took of your glasses, turned a little this way, leaned a little that way, flashed a smile and by God, the picture looked like me and a supermodel! I need someone to teach me that.

So let me tell you, I would have been impressed if you were in the spring colors or fall colors or if you had worn one of the bridesmaids dresses. Because you have talent, lady! And its about time you noticed!

Posted by: Em at April 9, 2008 7:57 PM

I love this whole story. Thank you for spilling it.

Posted by: amy at April 9, 2008 8:55 PM

I must say...you do have some killer shoes. I have serious shoe envy. You looked fabulous in Boston (even though you were sick!) and your book group friends all noticed the cool boots you were wearing! Did I tell you how great it was to finally meet you in person?

Posted by: kym at April 9, 2008 9:36 PM

I just love you so much. That is all.

Posted by: Kira at April 9, 2008 11:18 PM

I feel the same way about my clothes too! I try to wear "fashionable" and "colors" occasionally, but I just feel nervous and like I'm being stared at when I do.

Since I feel that way, I've frequently suspected that a large percentage of the "victims" of makeover shows backslide to their true selves by the time a year or two is up. :-)

Posted by: Brigitte at April 10, 2008 5:10 AM

em said it all for me.

meeting you was one of the highlights of my little life. and you made it easy and didn't even look down on me when i burbled on and on and on and ON about how much i love love love you.

you are the realest person i have ever hero'd.

Posted by: janet at April 10, 2008 10:01 AM

See, you've always struck me as an Autumn. Have you seen a Winter try to pull off a red hair dye job? Doesn't work. Or a Summer. Or a Spring. But it has worked for you.

So there's the pic of Karen, Sara, and you. A Spring/Summer (looks like Karen could go either way), a Winter (Sara's definitely a Winter, isn't she?), and an Autumn. You won't convince me otherwise. You can even send George over and have him argue with me and blind me with his product, but I won't budge.

Posted by: Sabra at April 10, 2008 10:15 AM

Well, here's to being more comfortable in our freaky skins! I think that *does* qualify as growing as a person. An eensy bit? Don't you think?

Posted by: Aimee at April 10, 2008 10:40 AM

How lovely. I much enjoyed this series of posts. By the way, when I've seen you, I always thought you and your clothes looked fab, bright or drab colors or whatever. For what that's worth.

Posted by: Keetha at April 10, 2008 10:41 AM

I tend toward white cotton and denim even though my favorite color is pink and my mom loves in red. I have to FEEL a color to wear it. . .or maybe it's just what's comfortable. Either way, you are lovely, lovely, lovely, and your words show who you really are.

Posted by: Roxanne at April 10, 2008 10:52 AM

Oh you are totally an autumn - it's your hair. Love the green top in the 3/29 picture. And very cute shoes. I always end up taking a larger suitcase than I should because of the SHOES! Seriously, like ONE pair of shoes is going to go with everything? (p.s. just finished TGWSS...fantastic!)

Posted by: JenniferG at April 10, 2008 11:45 AM

Yeah, but I see you've kept the color in your shoes and is that your VERY NICE not to mention COLORful red purse there on the table?

Maybe George has had more influence than you know?

Or you're just growing as a person.

Posted by: Diane at April 10, 2008 12:39 PM

I'm never TOO sure about the distinction between Spring and Autumn: when I had my colors done the last time, the consultant said, "Autumn", and then I unbraided my hair, which is much fairer on top, and she said, "Oh. Spring?". So, they're definitely akin, and not like Winter/ Summer.

But there are plenty of muted Spring colors - even grays, so long as they're not just a faded black. Olive is an excellent Spring/ Autumn color.

But your "wear what you're comfortable in" decision is definitely best: just because one's skin declares one to be spring doesn't mean that one likes perky-bright. It's a color palette, not a straight jacket!

Posted by: Diane (TT) at April 10, 2008 1:19 PM

You did look so lovely in those bright clothes, but the thing is, you look lovely in the pics today too, so what's the problem here? :P I definitely agree go with what you're comfortable with. I understand Ramona. I love wearing bright colors because they make me happy. I do well speaking in front of others because I get a persona thing going too (some call it *poise*. Pfft.) but like, a birthday party or a bridal shower? I am totally hiding under the table and you are NOT making me open presents.

Posted by: Jess at April 10, 2008 4:42 PM

It's spring ... Everything blooms this time of year, and blooming is part of growing. :)

Congratulations on your success as a NOVELIST. I'm hope the "really, really" like yourself part shows up soon. Because we know you'll like yourself, once you meet her.

Posted by: Mittany at April 10, 2008 5:04 PM

Oh, George would try to remake me too. Because my very HAIR is pink. Not "classy" in the slightest. But it sure does make me happy, and judging from the numbers of people who stop me on a daily basis to tell me how much they like it, it makes other people happy too!

Who knew?

Posted by: kate setzer kamphausen at April 10, 2008 5:43 PM

You look fabulous darlin'. I wear black, not grey, not charoal, but black. I am an autumn and have learned through wearing black how to accessorize. You my dear are an autumn and you look great in your pictures. The important thing is be happy, be comfortable, be you...and that means wear fab shoes...oh wait, you do.

Posted by: Cele at April 10, 2008 7:54 PM

I would have guessed you were 100% confidant from the start. You had me fooled. The drab (if updated) is always in style and classy...even the Thesbian outfits! That was an awesome 3 part serious...the best since the "Owls". Thanks for digging deep!

Posted by: Kim at April 11, 2008 9:53 AM

I think the brown top (upper right pic) looks completely smashing on you, Joss. Also? Geeks rock!

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