Saturday, August 13, 2011

Making Room

I cleaned out two closets today. The first one was the walk-in closet in my bedroom. I had it customized a couple years ago with multiple shelves, drawers, and rods at different heights so it keeps my clothes organized--in theory. What does a clothes closet have to do with being an author? Oh, you poor innocents!

See, first there is the prospect of book signings, which to some of us serves as the starting gun for whipping ourselves into shape. Author events are part of publicity, and before you know it you’ll be appearing in public, speaking to people you’ve never seen before. Your friends will see you in a new light; old lovers might show up; or your college roommate, or even that English teacher who saw a spark in your writing. If those possibilities don’t send you to your closet, I don’t know what will.
Before I ever worried about where I’d be going and what I’d say when I got there, I was stalking the malls. I’d been working at home in shorts and T-shirts, and it was time to pump up my professional wardrobe; or, more accurately, to get one. You’ll do it, too.
The other day I read an article about television actor Spencer Pratt. He was looking back to the beginning of his career when he was seduced by fame. Pratt said he began "investing in himself" by buying expensive clothes and accessories, only to realize later that (a) fame is fleeting; and (b) he now leads a simpler life and no longer wears any of his new clothes. Well, okay, there's a good lesson in part (a); but I still believe we need to invest in ourselves.
So, while you’re filling up your closet with author-like clothing, you might want to discard a few items. For instance, where were you planning to wear those ten-year-old shoes? Maybe they’d work with that skirt you forgot about, or that trendy top you’ve never had on, or the suits that don’t fit. Oh, wait; that’s my closet.
The second closet I cleaned out was the one just inside my front door. It held the usual jumble of coats, boots, and gloves plus an assortment of old umbrellas, Yankee Candles, vacuum cleaner accessories, and a big box of videos. Why did I empty it? Well, sitting nearby were seven boxes of books; a newly purchased hand truck to move said boxes; The Diva (my two-by-three-foot poster of myself); the easel I ordered to hold the poster; packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and mailing labels; my new stationery; a box of bookmarks; and a box of business cards: tools of the trade.
I wanted those items stored together, out of sight. When I get ready to leave for an event, I’ll be nervous enough without having to search the house for what I need to take. My books have to be near the front door, because each box is almost too heavy for me to manage.
Now that those books are put away, my living room looks better. My bedroom closet is shaping up, too, but I believe more shopping could be on the horizon--just a hunch, Spencer. Yesterday I cleaned my office. My goal is to have the whole house clean and my wardrobe organized before I start traveling in a few weeks.
Maybe we’ll see each other out there. I hope so. Stop and say hi.

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