Wednesday, 6 February 2008

What do you wear?

There has been talk on other blogs about what we wear when we are writing. A lot of people seem to go for the jim-jams option and so far no-one has owned up to doing something I was once recommended (but have never tried)- 'dressing as if for the office'. I am with Karen in agreeing that waistbands hinder writing (unless of course they are the comfy sort found on jim-jams)

I decided to do a bit of research and am now the proud owner of the following trivial information, which I would like to share:

Victor Hugo wrote in the nude in an attempt to fight writers block (on the principle that if all his clothes were taken away he would have nothing to distract him (spot the obvious flaw in that idea), Ernest Hemingway wrote naked , standing up with his typewriter at waist level (maybe he had learnt from Hugo's mistake) and Agatha Christie wrote in the bath (maybe naked, maybe in a wet suit, maybe fully dressed lying on cushions). Honore de Balzac, of bawdy story fame, wore a 'monk's robe' (actually a white dressing gown but everyone chose to humour him) when writing and of course Barbara Cartland wore pink. Don't know about Charles Dickens but apparently he practiced his dialogue by jumping up and down in front of a mirror pulling faces and talking in silly voices.

So, what do I wear? Well, without wanting to get too personal I have to confess to not owning a pair of jim jams, and as my house is generally freezing that does mean I have to get dressed before sitting down to write. In fact I am usually completely clothed, if a bit scruffy, and 'shock horror' have even been known to have applied mascara before I begin. I should add that this is not for the purposes of writing but because I often have a social interlude of a morning (ie an early coffee with friends in trendy cafe in town) and the mascara helps my eyes stay open before the coffee kicks in.


SpiralSkies said...

Good and fascinating research there... all those people writing naked, how odd.

I suspect that I would actually be cleaner and smarter if I didn't live in the middle of nowhere. No trendy friends or cafes unless I drive for 30 mins.

So, yes, jim-jams or trackies and a big fleece. The postman must think I'm SUCH a lazy cow.

Am smiling to think of you writing with mascara on. That sounds so ladylike and elegant.

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Spiral - living in the middle of nowhere sounds like a good plan for getting the old writing done. Certainly more conducive than living slap bang in the middle of a town bursting with trendy cafes, charity shops and people to bump into and chat to on the street - or is that just me making excuses again?

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Spiral - And... I am going to experiment writing with and without mascara - see if it makes any difference to the elegance of my writing!


Writing in the nude is a terrifying thought - the window cleaner caught me prancing about in my dressing gown this morning, which was embarrassing enough. At least it was only 8.30!

I wish I didn't care, but these days, the thought that someone MIGHT call and find me sans daytime clothing motivates me into full clobber and make-up before I get to the computer!

I can live without the mascara, but need a bit of lippy to avoid that just-risen-from-the-dead look!

HelenMH said...

I never knew that Agatha Christie wrote in the bath! How totally brilliant!

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Karen - glad it's not just me. Well done for having enough energy to prance about at 8.30 in the morning, I'm not usually up to that speed 'til about 11.

Helen - maybe that's why her books are so good to read in the bath - there are several steam wrinkled editions on my shelves I have to admit

Debs said...

Write in the nude, my God what a horrible thought. I'm a trackie bottoms and ancient, worn, baggy top wearer. Although on the odd occasion when I have had to answer the door to the postman, he has looked me up and down with distain. I don't care though, I'm happy being comfortable.

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Debs - postmen must have some great tales to tell, although when I was one, very briefly, all I experienced were dogs and over sensitive burglar alarms.
Personally, I'll never forget the time the window cleaner started cleaning my bedroom windows while I was sitting in bed eating my breakfast and admiring the view.