I've hunkered down with John Gardner the last couple of days. Writer/professor/Breadloaf speaker, most known for his nonfiction works on writing skills - The Art of Fiction and On Moral Fiction. I am in an MFA program. There will be challenging (read, it makes my brain hurt to try and understand) craft reading. John has tried his best to teach me what it means to be a true writer. To delve deeply for Truth, Beauty and the Good. Between you and me, I think I tend more toward that nebulous line he draws between the mad and the artist. I mean who isn't when -
You might be a writer if you revise everything, including your clothing.
Just yesterday, I found myself in a day long outfit revision. It's not entirely my fault. I've been presented with unusual dressing conditions. It is normally in the 90s this time of year in Oklahoma. Not this year. We saw the low 50s this morning. The low 50s! This has forced us sunshine worshippers into the murky realm of "layering." You know, a t-shirt, sweater, maybe a jacket, all to be peeled away as the day warms up. Northerners are pro. True artists. Not so much those of us in down below the frost border.
Shivering but still fully in John-Gardner-delve-deeper-to-find-Truth,-Good-and-Beauty mode, I did not grab the first thing I saw (a wool sweater) but delved deeply to find my Truth about the art of cool weather dressing. I ended up with a dark memory of northern German dressing practices. I lived in northern Germany for 5 years. Number one rule when living right on the Baltic Sea where it is constantly windy and cool - wear a scarf. It's an absolute must.
I pulled out a scarf.
The problem was, because I was still sort of in summer mode, I pulled out a very thin (as in narrow) scarf. I threw it casually around my neck, grabbed my leather jacket (another northern German must provided it's not raining. That calls for fleece-lined oilskin jackets) and went out to walk the dog.
Because the scarf was so narrow, it wasn't exactly keeping my neck warm. So, I tried wrapping it snugly and knotting it on one side. Much better. My neck was warm. And it looked good.
But now the necklace I was wearing suddenly seemed superfluous. An adverb made redundant by a good verb. Off came the necklace.
Which, of course, meant I needed to change the earrings.
That made the background all wrong. I changed shirts.
The jeans stayed, though. I didn't edit out everything...exactly.
But the shoes definitely had to go (No, I was not trying to get away from revisions on actual writing yesterday...much). The tied scarf's, how shall I say...French sophistication called for much snazzier shoes than the sneakers I'd thrown on. So I changed shoes.
Finally, it was perfect. Ready for the world to see.
Which makes it sort of ironic that I was at home alone. I had created an Emily Dickinson outfit. Flawless but never to be seen until posthumously.
Does that mean I need to revise my will now too?
Causes Stacy Nyikos Supports
ASPCA, Humane Society, Wildlife Federation