Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't send your ms out with hairy legs

 Let's talk about personal grooming.

(What? It's an important issue.)

I like to think of myself as a clean person. I shower. I brush my teeth. I depilate* on a regular basis. I wear clean clothes most of the time, and always remember to change my underwear, in case I get hit by a truck, because lord knows I wouldn't want to mortify my mother if the docs in the ER were to speculate I might be wearing less-than-fresh panties**.

On any given day, if, say, a surprise guest showed up on my doorstep, I would not present an absolutely appalling picture. (Unless examined very closely or in harsh sunlight, of course. Then all bets are off.) But I certainly don't take the time to go through every single grooming ritual on a daily basis. I mean, I do have a life. Things to do, don'tcha know.

You're reading one of those things right now. But, in case you're wondering, I will be shaving my legs this morning. And my pits. And I'll even buff my heels with one of these:

Because tonight I'm playing Cinderella and going to The Ball with TG--a job-related, highly formal event, wherein the foundation he works for seduces money out of rich people who happen to be patrons of the arts (and we love each and every one of their generous hearts, yes we do!). It's a special occasion, so I'm trying harder than usual.

[BTW, those aren't my feet. I thought you should know, in case you're a closet foot fetishist, and might be tempted to develop a crush on me based upon an unrealistic image.

Not that my own feet are awful. I mean, I use the dry-skin-grater-offer thingamajig and a special lotion and everything. I even have peachy-pink toenails. I just don't have a picture of me using the thingamajig, because, frankly, TG thinks it's pretty gross, and wouldn't play photographer for me. Not that he doesn't appreciate the fruits of my labors, even if he isn't a foot fetishist. Who doesn't enjoy a smooth foot? He just doesn't want to watch me do it. You might even say it grates on him. (Uh, sorry.)]

You are by now probably thinking, what in the HELL is Linda getting at with all this nonsense? (Isn't it amazing how psychic I am? Honestly, it's a gift.) Well, I'll tell ya.

*Ahem* Personal grooming is not unlike what we do with our writing when we revise. When we edit and tweak, plump it up and pare it down, it's kind of like washing and shampooing and plucking and shaving. All that stuff we do to put the finishing touches on a manuscript before we send it out into the world?

It's hygiene for our writing.

A lot of writing is akin to the everyday grooming basics--don't sweat it, it's fine as long as it doesn't stink. Just get the words down, relax, and call it done.

But some writing is like going to The Ball--you want it to be as polished as possible before unveiling it to the world. Like before you send it out to an agent or editor. Now, nobody--and no manuscript--is ever perfect. Some probably have an inborn radiance, sure, but hell's bells, even Angelina Jolie looks better with a little make-up, right? And she probably smells as bad as anyone else if she doesn't take a shower. The thing is, you work with what you've got, and you try set it off to its best advantage.

All I'm saying is, some occasions call for a little more effort***, whether you're dressing up you or your manuscript. Just something to think about...while I go grate my heels, tweak my brows, and figure out which uncomfortable pair of shoes I'm going to dance in tonight.

*depilate: to remove hair from the body.

**Though if I get hit by a bus, the state of my underwear would probably undergo a sudden and drastic change. If you get my drift. So what does it really matter?

***Sadly, I'm afraid I didn't shave this post's legs. Sorry, but I was pressed for time. You understand, don't you?


Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

LMAO! I didn't wonder where you were going; I was enjoying the ride! Good analogy, though. But I find since becoming a mom, my personal hygiene often suffers. Shaving my legs is a embarrassingly rare occasion. My writing? WellI haven't gotten to the revise/edit stage yet with my WIP. Hopefully I will do a better job there. ;)


Patty Blount said...

After the night I had, THIS was the best possible therapy! How funny and how true! I used to think of this as putting on my story's make-up, but your analogy works far better.

Thanks for the belly laughs and the idea!

Bren said...

Too funny. I love the analogy. It is important to present your best face (or manuscript) to the world. It's often the first and only impression some people will ever have of you.

Great post. This was my first visit to your blog and I'll definitely be back. I'm also going to keep an eye out for your book. You're a funny lady. :)


Trisha Leigh said...

I wonder what it means that my hygiene suffers while I'm really into editing. Perhaps the brain can only dedicate so many cells to cleaning up - be it words or body odor?

I've literally sat, stared at my computer screen, and been unable to remember the last time I showered. Gross, right? But hey, I'm single and I live alone so no one cares.

I loved all your asides to the reader - hilarious. Oh, and have fun tonight, Cinderella. Hope you get some fun out of those shaved legs (wink).

Génette Wood said...

I'm with Trisha on this one--only 1 kind of grooming for me at a time! It's either the writing or the human, take your pick. :)

I'm a little jealous about the ball. Last time I got to dress up and dance with a handsome man (who may or may not have been forced) was my senior prom.

Have fun tonight!

Kelly Breakey said...

This is why pedicures are a must for me. I can't stand the skin and I am for sure not grating it off. That is what I pay the professionals for.

Deborah Small said...

Seriously...awesome. :)


Elizabeth Ryann said...

Have fun at the ball! It sounds fabulous.

kristina said...

You, my dear, are delicious. :)

I just wish I were even close to the hygiene stage instead of the stay up until 1 or 2 am and try to remember just how the hell I am supposed to breath life into an inanimate object, otherwise known as writing it down.

Oh, and I actually *may* have a fetish for your feet. I'm fond of ones that are bathed more frequently than my kiddos who still think being grodey is the next best thing to being cool.

abby mumford said...

while you have a grand time at the ball tonight, i'm going to try and hygiene-nate my writing. you might say I'm the ugly stepsister to your cinderella...

Linda G. said...

Elizabeth Flora -- You can come ride my blog anytime! And, believe me, there is nothing like having a small child in the house to make personal grooming a distant memory. No time. :)

Patty -- You're so welcome. Thanks for stopping by & laughing. :)

Brenday -- Welcome! :) You're from Canada, aren't you? (Yes, I read your profile. I'm nosy.) The ball tonight is being sponsored by the Canadian Embassy. There will be real live Mounties--on horses!--there. And they'll probably be sweltering in our 90-something degree weather, poor things.

Trisha -- It means you are single-minded, and dedicated to doing a great job with your editing. This is a GOOD thing. :) Oh, and TG always gets ideas when I shave my legs. ;)

LadyGenette -- Oooh, a little force only makes dancing with a handsome man that much more fun. ;) My nickname for this even (it's a yearly thing) is "the Senior Prom" --only it's mostly real seniors. Ha!

Kelly -- You and TG. Me, I can't stand strangers touching my feet. I'm too ticklish.

Deb -- Thanks! :)

Elizabeth R (hey, that sounds regal, doesn't it?) -- Thanks! I'm going to try. :)

Kristina -- Don't worry. You'll be plucking and tweaking your WIP before you know it. Oh, and would you like me to wiggle my toes for you? ;)

Abby -- LOL! You could never be anybody's ugly anything. :) Have fun hygiene-ating!

Thanks, everyone! Love reading your comments. :)

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Haha, totally! Especially when you also add in the fact that my middle name is Dianna. :) However, I'm pretty sure you'll succeed--how could you not be the life of any party?

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm a day late and a dollar short but I hope you had a great time at the ball. Did you kiss the Prince at midnight?

And if anyone ever stopped by my door for a surprise visit the surprise would certainly be on them. I'm not into ANY kind of hygiene when I'm writing, never mind revising and editing. Which is probably why I have no friends.

Linda G. said...

Elizabeth R -- You're just full to the brim with royal names. And the ball was fun, but TOO HOT. Open-to-the-air venue combined with freak end-of-September heatwave = ugh. The ice sculptures melted and so did I. (Along w/everyone else.) But the food was good.

Piedmont Writer -- Fun, but hot (see above). Actually I was in bed asleep by midnight. Since it was so sweltering, we didn't stay for much dancing. (I know. What a wuss. But heat & me are not best buds.)