Should I go to the costume ball as a contemporary someone who’s lost his cool head
or as a committed contemporary reader who ought to be committed?
I received email a few days ago about a writers’ conference I’ll be attending in late May. They’re planning a new event this year.
It involves dressing in a costume from one’s genre, wearing it to supper, and then parading around for everyone to gawk at. Sounds like great fun for the ladies. Especially those who write historical fiction and would have to bring two extra suitcases to fit one of those old timey dresses in.
If I wrote fantasy—super hero type, that is—couldn’t you just picture me in a cape, t-shirt, and tights—or whatever? I sure hope not!
If I wrote police stories, I’d have to go as a plain clothes cop. No way would I want to get arrested for impersonating a uniformed policeman, even if I could get hold of a uniform.
If I wrote military adventure, maybe I could borrow a Uzi from somebody. A lot of folks at my church—men and women—own and use firearms. Somebody might have one.
Or a tank. I’m sure dragging that behind my car for 400 miles would do great things for my gas mileage. And cause no telling how many accidents among drivers who started staring instead of looking where they were going.
The problem is I write Young Adult fiction…contemporary. And contemporary fiction for adults. What if I just wore what I’d been wearing all day? I couldn’t get more contemporary than that.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I think the costume idea is silly. I just wish one of the other guys on the loop would speak up and say he thinks it’s a tad, uh, unmasculine.
Am I becoming a person-of-age fogey, I wonder? (I’m not old enough to be an “old fogey.”)
I had my day of enjoying costumes. Mostly during childhood. Early childhood.
But I proved my daring beyond everyone’s expectations when I went to a minimum of three different Halloween parties—all during my adult years—wearing a sheet folded as a diaper and held together by huge safety pins. Yes, I did wear something underneath, and no, I didn’t go topless.
But I did carry around a baby bottle of milk, which I occasionally took a sip of. And drag a comfort blanket on the floor behind me. And suck on my thumb from time to time.
Fun? Extremely. Funny? Absolutely. Daring? Extremely.
But would I do that again now? Hmm. One of my unpublished manuscripts is about a couple of teens who pretend she’s pregnant to try to end their fathers’ feud. I could be their imaginary baby.
Maybe my nerve would impress the publishers at the conference and make them take me and my writing more seriously. Yes, that was most definitely supposed to be a joke.
But back to the question of whether I qualify as a person-of-age fogey because of how I feel about the costume idea. I may only be sixty-seven, but don’t I deserve to hold on to what little of my dignity is left?
Okay, guys (and ladies, too)…what would YOU do?
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By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing”—check it out here—to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.