# of pages written: 3, so far
# of days left to write 1st draft: 127
Today I went thrift store shopping, thanks to my friend Layla’s suggestion. There are a plethora of small, church-run thrift stores on the Cape, most of them chock full of treasures such as Garfield coffee mugs, ceramic snow men, painted seashells, cassette tapes of Christmas music, and jigsaw puzzles. Because most of the people who live on the Cape are old, most of the thrift stores are filled with old people clothes. Had I been in the market for an extra-large denim jumper (and sometimes I am), or a pair of plaid, high-waisted capri pants, then I would have been in luck. But alas, I was looking for a dress to wear to an outdoor wedding I’m going to next week, not an outfit for a Bingo date at the church social hall.
I did have some success at the consignment shop in Orleans, however. I immediately spied at green sundress and a pair of jeans that appeared to be my size. I tried them both on in the dressing room. The dress was a little too big, but it still looked cute, and the jeans were a little too tight, but I thought they might be the kind that stretch after a day’s wear. I stood in the dressing room debating with myself for quite some time:
Well, the dress is cute – I could always alter it.
But I don’t really know how to sew.
I could take it to a tailor.
I don’t like to spend money on that kind of thing.
It’s not that expensive.
But I’m currently living off my savings.
What about the jeans – you need jeans.
But I never wear jeans.
That’s because you don’t have a good pair.
What I really wished was that I had a girlfriend there. Or two. Girlfriends would either tell me “Oh my gosh, you look cute in that – get it!” or “You already have two green sundresses. Maybe you don’t need another one.”
Not that I’d automatically agree with them. I might say, yeah, I know I already have two green sundresses, but they’re both old and stained, and this one is nice. And then, in arguing my point, I’d realize that I do feel strongly about the green sundress after all. And then I would be able to make the decision confidently. Sometimes I need other people’s input in order to figure out my own opinion.
The other day, my grandpa emailed me and mentioned his days working on the writing staff at a magazine. For the kickoff of each edition, he said, they’d have a big meeting and everyone would toss out ideas for consideration. Some ideas sounded really perfect at first but ended up being no good, while the kookie ones sometimes worked. Your problem, he said, is that you’re a staff of one. You might not recognize a good idea when you have one.
I’ve thought about this recently as I attempt to write. I’m always getting these ideas and starting them, and then thinking, no – this is no good. It’s like I’m standing in the dressing room, debating with myself. Second-guessing myself. I wonder if I should talk to people about my novel ideas, even though that terrifies me. I wonder if I would be better suited to writing in a group – like a magazine, or writing for television.
When I’m debating about whether or not to buy something, my natural inclination is not to buy it. And when I’m debating about whether or not to continue with an iffy idea, my natural inclination is not to write it.
Of course, there is an in-between option. Today I brought the dress and jeans up to the counter. “What’s your return policy?” I asked the clerk as I pulled out my wallet.
So now I have a few days to decide.
I’m a staff of one, and I have to remember that sometimes a kookie, ill-fitting idea might work out in the end. Best to go ahead and buy into it. I can decide later whether or not to take it back.