Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Professional

Over the past few weeks, I've learned the hard way that as a writer, I'm always "on". There is no time (except when I'm in my apartment, hanging out with the blinds closed) that I am just free to be Anny Cook's alter ego. I'm a gabby sort. People who have talked to me on the phone will be happy to attest to my gabbiness. In the process of flapping my lips, inevitably my writing career shows up in the conversation.

Call me shallow, but the truth is that people make snap judgments based on appearance. I would like for it to be otherwise, but alas, it isn't so. Therefore, when I start chatting about my career as an erotic romance author, hopefully I will at least not look like a refugee from a flood. Real refugees have good reason to look desperate and hopeless. I do not.

I've hawked my books under some odd circumstances--restaurants, laboratories, gas stations, laundromats, doctor's offices, grocery stores... Most times I was dressed. But one memorable time, my sole garment was a pink paper gown that was three sizes too small. It opened down the front. My cardiologist was standing behind me, listening to my lungs and chatting about odds and ends.

"So! Are you working now?"
"Yes." (Deep breath!)
"What do you do?"
"I write erotic romances." (Deep breath!)
"Excuse me. What did you say?"
"I write erotic romances." (Deep breath!)

He stopped what he was doing and moved around until he was facing me. "You write erotica?" I wish I had a camera. His expression was priceless. We embarked on an animated discussion about the ins and outs of writing erotic romance as a profession... all the time I was sitting there in my gaping pink paper gown--freezing to death. I resolved the next time I am asked that question under similar circumstances I will answer, "I kill people for a living."

I can not tell you how many times I've grabbed my purse to run out to the store, clad in shorts and tee shirt, hair standing on end, only to encounter an acquaintance who is eager to introduce me to their friend. After all, a lot of people think it's cool to be friends with a real live author. This always happens when I look like I just crawled out of bed after an active night. The looks I get are hair curling.

So my new resolution is to pretend that I'm running for President. The media is always looking. And the fashionistas are always critiquing. And I just may not be caught off guard again. Maybe.



  1. Great visual with the paper gown and docs eyes bugging out!!! Hysterical. Isn't that always the case though...quick trip to the store looking like the wrath of God only to see EVERYONE you KNOW.

    I think we erotic romance writers should aspire to look like Pam Anderson. Isn't she a romance writer?? SNORT.

  2. Writers are eccentric. Go out as you are. Do you really want to start wasting valauble writing time with makeup and clothes nonsense?

  3. I never worry about how I look or what people think. Take me as I am or not at all. Fashion is for fusspots

  4. I think a rule about being dressed is pretty safe. Beyond that? eh.

  5. Yeah--I'm a pastor's wife and also "always on," but I have to live my life, which means dressing in my usual ways, not the idealized life "they" want me to live.

    I've never been the type to worry too much about what I look like or have on. Most of the time, if I'm going beyond the back yard, I'll make sure I have the appropriate undergarments on beneath my clothes, but that's about it.

    If they don't like it, fine. And if they're so shallow as to judge me or my husband based on the fact that I have on shorts and a t-shirt instead of a blouse and skirt, then I can do without them.

  6. "I kill people for a living" Priceless sweetie. I would pay to hear that conversation. LOL.

    Dakota Rebel

  7. Elisa!!! Yay you!!! I'm the same way.

    Anny: "about the ins and outs of writing erotic romance as a profession" Um. heh. NIIIIICE choice of words.


  8. My take is that authors can wear whatever they feel like wearing. Artists are perceived as bohemian; why can't we?

  9. LOL. Anny. I feel what you are saying. I've had a few moments like that. People think writers are always looking glamourous when we look just like they do. Thanks for the great visual.

  10. Taige! Girl, what are you up to? I haven't heard from you in ages!

  11. Oh Anny - I'm laughing so hard at your doctor's office experience - that's a thing of absolute beauty. I'm betting you were the talk of the office that day!