Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Incredible Journey

Last Friday, I drank a few cups of strong coffee, took a deep breath and headed out to the mall. I was determined. I was resolute. I was going to find some jeans that fit, that were cute, and that wouldn't require a home equity loan. Seriously. That was my plan.

Jeans used to be easy. In the 1970s, and even into the 80s (until I had my first child), I would glide into any jeans store, grab a few pairs of Lee jeans, size 28w x 34l (I liked them long. Heaven forbid my socks would ever be seen.), plunk down my money and head out to wash them 4 or 5 times before wearing them. Easy peasy.

Then, through much of the 1990s, I'd order straight out of the Eddie Bauer catalog.

But, somewhere this millenium, jeans became complicated. Expensive. Oh, and something happened to my hips and thighs. I felt like I needed a 12-Step program. "Hi, I'm Judy and I need to shop for jeans." "Hi Judy." I'd watch Oprah or "What Not to Wear" and I'd nod and take it all in. And I'd think, well, if Oprah says Lucky Brand jeans fit everyone, they'll sure work for me. So I bought a pair. And they were okay. But, not day to day jeans. (Good lord, they cost $100+. That's not everyday for me.)

I wanted jeans that were comfortable, were cute, and didn't make a statement.

And so I grabbed jeans from every rack, from every pile and shlepped to the dressing room. (Can I just take a minute to say three-way mirrors combined with that sick yellow light should be outlawed. I don't need that view.) I tried on, I winnowed and sifted. I shlepped some more. At one point, when I was making my 3rd or 4th trek to the dressing room, I thought I might be having my first hot flash, but decided that I was just overexerting myself. Too bad I didn't bring along a sherpa.

And, miracle of miracles, I found a pair that worked. And, they were on sale. So I grabbed them in dark wash and regular wash. Then I grabbed a 3rd pair. Just for good measure.

I know what you're asking: "WHAT KIND? SHARE THIS INFO!! IT'S NOT CLASSIFIED, DAMMIT!" But, here's the problem. They might not work for you. Because you don't have my thighs (but, if you want them . . . ). So, you'll have to do what I did. Set aside a few hours, and try on 20+ pairs. Look at them from all angles (yes, even that angle). Squint. Try on another pair. Try on the first ones again. Then grab a brand you've never worn and just see. Revise. Edit.

Whoa.

It's like writing. No one brand works for everyone. What worked a few years ago (or decades ago) might not work now. What you first think is right might not be right when you look at it from another perspective. Just like writing. Some people write on the computer, some write in longhand. Some outline. Some wing it. There's no one perfect style or size or cut or brand.

It's work. Writing and jeans shopping. It takes time. It takes commitment. It takes sacrifice. But, when it all falls into place, when the conflict sets up the perfect plot point, when the character swims into view, when the jeans fit just right, it's a beautiful thing.

And now, I'll share with you the jeans that worked for me--I found them at Macy's in the Style & Co. department. They are Levi's 512 Perfectly Slimming (that might be hyperbole) Stretch Jeans. The tag even mentions that they "flatten your tummy." According to the tag they are "New" which makes me feel very cutting edge.

So, have no fear, if I could find some jeans, so can you. Same for that whole writing gig. Have at it.

14 comments:

The Writers' Group said...

Wow Judy--Jeans and writing. I'm glad you've got the dedication to master both. I have to say I've had more luck with writing! Lynne

The Writers' Group said...

Judy, brava to you for saying somthing I've long believed: Writing is an individual process. Not everyone writes every day, there needn't be a daily page minimum, longhand, typewriter, computer -- blech. What works for you is what works for you.

As for jeans, I head straight to the Gap clearance rack and buy the cheapest pair. After my last baby -- 10 lbs. 6 oz. -- there's not looking back.

Amy

VirtualWordsmith said...

I buy men's jeans. They cost less, have more room, and if they're slightly too big, I have a really cool belt to wear with them. There is no rule that women have to wear tight pants. :D

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Lynne, All I can say is thank goodness I don't have to shop for jeans everyday! It's way more fun and much, much easier to write on a regular basis!

Amy, funny how those kids change everything, isn't it? (Of course, it has nothing to do with chocolate!).

V.Wordsmith, I'll have to give that a try next time!

Tasha Alexander said...

Judy, I love it!

I just noticed yesterday that my favorite jeans are starting to get early signs of rattiness, and I don't think they make them any more. It's going to be a sad and tragic day when they can be worn no more....

Lisa said...

Jeans and writing -- argh! So good to get more confirmation that we all need to find our own way and see what fits. And thank you Amy for permission not to write every day. As someone with a full time job, I hand wring constantly and question my dedication and abilities when I just can't make the time to write every day.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Tasha--have you considered EBay? Saying goodbye to that perfect pair of jeans is truly a sad day.

Lisa--never forget it's individual--no one thing works for everyone. Get rid of the guilt and hand-wringing and just decide any time you can write is a gift. Oh, and welcome back!

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

So true....I have definitely learned that each book writes itself differently, and you can't panic when it happens. You have to learn to trust the process...it's just like when I was in theater. We knew that every performance would be different simply because we were coming to it from a different place, every day. One night you might have come straight to the theater after having a bad day at work. Another night, you might have just bought the perfect pair of shoes at a deep discount, and so you're soaring on air...and then, of course, you bring these different emotions to the performance, making every night different.

Same thing with books...we're always in a different place when we start the next one. (Same thing with jeans, too...sigh.)

kristen said...

Jeans. Can't live with them, can't live without them.

And writing? Same damn thing.

Sigh.

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks for the tip, Judy. Between now and Christmas I've got to get a pair of jeans and I was planning on hitting Macy's. Don't know if I have it in me to try on 20+ pairs though. You're strong!!

Therese said...

Ooh, I love a well-turned metaphor. :)

That, and my one pair of jeans that really work. The small worn spot on the left thigh has now become a 4" rip, so I fear Macy's is in my very near future too.

You make a good point on the evolution of need. Most of my current WIP is being written at the book store cafe, while I wrote all of the previous book from my desk at home.

As long as you find jeans that fit, life it good, eh?

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Melanie-Nice point (about theater and writing). As far as the jeans go, I just wish my butt was in the same place as it used to be . . .

Kristen--I've found that wine helps with both.

Carleen-I was on a mission. Good luck with your own shopping efforts!

Therese--Gotta love those perfect, well, worn jeans. That's one thing about the new ones (with stretch) they don't get that same old softness.

Daisy said...

That sounds promising. I don't go to Macy's very often; I feel kind of like a tourist when I do. It might take me a few coffees to get up my courage.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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