Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ugly Pants

I write for 3rd - 7th grade kiddos, so this is the section where I write about a [possibly embarrassing] thing that happened at that age, and relate it to writing. And chalk it all up to a lessons [hopefully] learned.

One evening as fifth grader, I realized that my last pair of clean pants were on me, so I put in a load of laundry. Thinking I could be uber-prepared, I also changed into pajamas so I could add the pair of pants I wore to the mix.

Then, like the kid that I was, I didn’t think about them again. At least not until I woke up the next morning and went to put on a pair of pants and realized I had none! After a frantic search of my drawers, I found a "Saturday" pair of pants. You know the kind-- only meant to be worn when outside doing yardwork, or helping my dad clean the garage-- NEVER meant for public viewing. The other problem? They'd already been downgraded to Saturday pants a good two years before. They were red corduroy with different colored flowers, both knees had holes, and they weren’t pretty even when they were brand new. And oh, yeah. They were also about a foot too short. Not having any other options at the moment, I pulled them on TEMPORARILY, along with a way cute purple patterned shirt, ran to the washroom, and put my load of pants into the dryer.

Just like the night before, I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THEM AGAIN! I got ready for school, then left. In the disaster pants! Apparently, I didn’t think about clothes much after I put them on, because it wasn’t until the teacher called us all to the back of the room to sit in a circle on the carpet and I spied Perfect Dresser Debbie staring at my clashing self with a look of disturbed fascination on her face, that I’d realized what I had done. Then, one by one, everyone else’s attention was drawn to the flowery, motor oil and grass stained, short-enough-to-be-called-capris-except-there-wasn’t-such-a-thing-yet, holey-kneed (except the holes were now closer to my thighs than knees), pants. And by then, my face was the same color as my pants and it was way too late to do anything about changing them.

My pants? They were kind of like a rough draft. I needed someone to point out that areas should’ve been longer. Or that there were [plot] holes. Or that red really doesn’t go well with multi-colored flowers. Or that stains really distracted from the state it could be in. Or that the theme of my shirt really didn’t go with the concept of my pants.

I NEEDED SOMEONE TO TELL ME. And that’s why it’s so important to have good, honest critique partners that will look at everything! Sure, it’s nice to have people that tell you that you [or your manuscript] look GRRRREAT! It helps with the morale and the self-esteem and the freaking out moments when you feel like your manuscript sucks beyond the telling of it. But unless you want cringe-worthy elements in your manuscript when it’s too late to do anything about it, you also need people who are willing to say the writing equivalent to “Are you really going to wear that?”


Kristine said...

Haha! An English teacher I had in college told us of how she always thought her work was great - her mom was her critique-r. She was shocked when she went to college and found out there were things she needed to work on. Haha!

tammy said...

I would be your agent!! (if I were one, that is....) mostly because I'm competitive that way (and only in that way) and would want the chance to say 'Haha!! I got her and her awesome writing first!!' However, not being trained in the art of editing, I only know what I like and probably wouldn't be too helpful in that department. But if I had been your sister, I TOTALLY would have asked you if that was what you were wearing before you walked out the door!!

Janet said...

I am the same with Tammy, I can relate to throwing in pants and forgetting them until your in desprete need to wear them. Good story.

JaNae said...

While reading this post, I was whisked back in time to my apple print flood pants that I wore to elementary school. Now that I see me in those pictures, wearing those pants, I really do wish someone had said to me, "Are you really going to wear that?" Haha!

kellieanne said...

I would be better at critiquing a paper than giving you fashion advice. I am so oblivious to what people wear! But I would tell you your clothes didn't match if I noticed just as I would tell you if you had spinach stuck in your teeth or something hanging from your nose. I would hope someone would tell me. Just as I would hope they would be honest about critiquing a paper.

Julie said...

The things we go through in life!

I guess I am a typical mother. I love your writting, your writing voice, I love what you write about. I love reading your stories and the way you tell them, in detail and with feeling. You bring everything to life. But if would have seen you leave the house like that I would have said something. Was I at work that day?

Peggy Eddleman said...

Kristine-- EXACTLY.
tammy-- I'd totally want you to be my agent. Not only for the fun, but because you wouldn't let me be embarrassed.
Janet-- I'd like to say it's the only instance of that happening, but alas...
JaNae-- I'm totally picturing you in those pants!
kellieanne-- and that's why you're so awesome.
Julie-- you must've been at work, because I know you would have said something. Unless you only noticed my sweet smile, and figured I was just as cute as could be. :)

K. Marie Criddle said...

Ha!! I definitely have a bunch of "rough draft pants"...and the idea of my crit partners looking at my manuscript as they would and awful fashion faux pas is HILARIOUS. I love crit partners! If only they would look at my REAL clothes and tell me what to where... lesigh.