I did not go tearing into the office this past Monday morning, but instead opened up my WIP (work in progress) and set to work on a new scene. This WIP is giving me fits—most of ‘em do, though a few have not—and I have the sense if I don’t beaver away at it, the story will evaporate from my imagination, along with the motivation to write it down.
Phone rings, and whoopsie, there’s a good possibility I’m going to be called into the courthouse. Foster care laws are written so if the state should snatch your children, you at least get a judge to look the situation over in short order. Sometimes, I get an hour’s notice that I have a hearing, sometimes a day. When the holidays loom, business always picks up.
Scheduling court hearings is like trying to make a Rubik’s cube come right. Certain matters can only be heard in certain courtrooms (with a jury box); others have to be proximate to the holding cells or have AV equipment for evidence presentation purposes. For a foster care case, as many as four attorneys have to be rounded up (for kids, mom, dad, and local child welfare department), along with social workers, witnesses, parties, and supervisors.
So there was a good chance Monday’s case would not be heard Monday, and an equally good chance it would. I live more than twenty country miles from the courthouse…
So, you ask, why not just change into courtroom attire, hop in the truck, and work on the WIP at the office, which is twenty steps from the courthouse? Makes perfect sense, right?
One cannot wear jammies to court. Not only is it frowned upon (the courthouse has a dress code), but an offended judge can hold counsel in direct contempt, which involves a one way trip to the local hoosegow.
I’ve written fiction on the office computer on occasion—romantic fiction, that is. I’ve spent many and many an hour trying to be productive while waiting to find out if a hearing is going forward. Sometimes this means I judge contest entries, draft blogs, or even work on the WIP at the office.
But having a tenuous hold on the current story, I did not want to change out of my writing clothes unless I had to.
Writing clothes? I was utterly bumfuzzled to learn that writing Regency romance has come to mean, for me, that I’m wearing yoga pants, tie-dyed Maggie Moo organic wool socks, a fleecy top, and Nike slides rather than outfits that flatter me or present me as a courthouse professional. And somehow, these clothes make it more likely (in my mind) that what I’m writing will be Good Stuff, as opposed to words produced in an effort to feel productive at the law office.
When did this happen and what’s the significance of it? I know I can’t lawyer in my jammies, but when did I decide that I can’t be a romance author in my lawyer duds? Because, apparently I have.
Do you have wardrobe quirks that surprise even you? Favorite socks? A laundry sorting hat?
To one commenter, I’ll send a pair of Maggie Moo Organize wool tie-dyed Writing Socks, and a signed copy of “The Bridegroom Wore Plaid,” my first Scottish Victorian romance, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012.