Hello, readers! Welcome to Autumn!
With school in full swing now, and October on the horizon, my daughter has been asking about costumes. I am now searching online daily for the exact costume she wants. We will find it…eventually. I only hope that when we do, it’ll arrive on time.
When I was younger, I remember dressing up as a 50’s girl, with a poodle skirt and bobbie socks. As I got older, we would have school dances where we could show up in costume, which one time, I dressed up as Cyndi Lauper. Hey! It was the 80’s, and for the record, I also had a Cyndi Lauper birthday cake that year.
Costumes are all about becoming someone or something else for a while. During those years, I dreamed playing music in a pop band (Did I really just admit that???) Being able to dress the part helped fill that need for me. And plenty of my friends wanted to be Courtney Cox, before we even knew who she was (see below…)
This post, so far, has been a trip down memory lane. You might be surprised, though, because here comes my writerly tie in: The act of writing fiction is like creating a costume, and the act of reading fiction gives you a new costume to wear for a short time.
Here’s why: Fabulous words, draped over the body of reality, allow the reader to experience life as someone else for a bit. It’s a beautiful thing. As kids, how many of us identified with a hero or heroine, choosing to read books about those characters so that we could continue to experience that life a while longer? Some of my favorite books as a small child, were created by Beatrix Potter. I loved the costume-like world she created for her animals, and reading these books together with my parents ad my grandma Honey placed me directly into Peter Rabbit’s thicket, Hunca-Munca’s dollhouse, and Squirrel Nutkin’s tree.
As I grew older, I found that I wanted to spend more and more time with the characters of Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle, and Jean Shepard, among others. Opening a book was as if I threw on a costume, becoming part of those character’s world.
I am grateful that I had the experience of wearing those literary costumes growing up, and I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to create costumes for my readers. It’s a wonderful thing.
What literary “costumes” were your favorites growing up? How about now? If you are a writer, what “costumes” do you create for your readers? Please share your comments! I love hearing from you!
P.S. In case you have now been inspired to watch Bruce Springsteen’s epic video for Dancing In The Dark, here it is! Enjoy!