Monday, October 24, 2011

October Roundtable: The Virtual Costume Party

October is my favorite month of the year. In my part of the world, this is when heaters and sweaters and flannel bed sheets come out, when maple leaves turn gold and those other trees down the street turn red, and the sunlight that filters into my home is so golden you can feel it with your eyes closed.

And this is the month when I met my husband, and the month when both of my boys were born.

But it's that last day that got me excited as a child. I always dressed as a gypsy for Halloween, because that meant I got to wear all my mother's jewelry and her reddest lipstick.

These days I dress as the nice lady at the door with the candy. But today we're holding a virtual costume party here at Novel Matters. There's one rule: you have to come as an author, and since it's only virtual, you must tell us who you are and what you are virtually wearing. Have you come as Jane Austin, in pearls and an empire dress? Or as Edgar Allan Poe sporting a raven on your shoulder?

We ladies at Novel Matters will break the ice - but that means we get first dibs on the costumes.

And I get first first dibs: I have come to the party as Barbara Cartland. I'm wearing a formal dress hand beaded top to toe, and a Marie Antoinette wig with the bottom ringlets clipped off. And best of all, I've got on all my mother's jewelry, and her reddest lipstick, natch!

I'm at the party dressed in a stola, indigo in color. It is a long shift, and draped over my shoulders and arm I am wearing a shawl-like palla. My palla is red, dyed with the cheapest tint available. My clothing is rough-woven, because I no longer have the wealth into which I was born in Roman society. Because I am a Gentile woman living among Jews and Gentiles who have become Christians, I keep my head covered. I am Priscilla, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

I'm wearing a white shirt and a burgundy cravat with a matching brocade vest. My pants are tapered grey made of the finest wool, as is my frock coat. My tweed skimmer isn't just for show; it keeps my head warm against the London fog. My Vandyke is trimmed and brushed in an effort to put my best face forward. My shoes are well worn and comfortable for walking the city as I am wont to do, as I observe my fellow Londoners, all the while making notes on whatever scraps of paper I can find as I work on my latest installment of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which is sure to be my finest novel yet.

My hair is swept into a loose but tidy bun. Three strings of pearls lay at my throat, of course! My outfit is tailored, but clearly I've lost some weight in my later years. And oh the life I've lived. My parents were raised during the Civil War and we left the states for China before the modern world had much of an influence on me. And I like it that way. I wrote for the voiceless women of China and earned both the Nobel and Pulitzer for my efforts, but you won't see my work--and I was prolific--included in modern anthologies of women writers. Perhaps I was considered too conventional for all that. Anyway, when I show up at the party, please have plenty of fortune cookies and bittersweet chocolate. You may call me Pearl.


Susie Finkbeiner said...

For today, I have let my hair get just a tiny bit frizzy. I've pinned it down on the sides, leaving the top and sides a brown headed poodle. My cat's eye glasses and big pearls go with the whole 50's feel of my black dress. I carry a stuffed peacock toy (because real peacocks get a little grumpy when you pick them up). I'm beloved Flannery O'Connor.

This is a fun game!

Henrietta Frankensee said...

All my favourite authors wore suits and wide rimmed glasses. But let's put on a top hat and tails and go to a diplomatic function as John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor-General of Canada during WWII. No, I prefer him in a tweed jacket with brogues roaming the Scottish Highlands.

Megan Sayer said...

Latayne...Hebrews was written by Priscilla? Where does that information come from?

Latayne C Scott said...

Hey, Megan. That idea has been around for about 1800 years. An author named Ruth Hoppin recently wrote a very convincing NF on the subject. And... I have written an entire novel based on that premise. (Know any publishers that would like a risky-lit book?)

costume Jewelry said...

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