We are in the Thinking Room at Houston's Museum of African American Culture. Karen Walrond, the mega-talented photographer, author and find-your-magic muse, has asked me to talk about my style, and we have agreed to meet at my favorite place in the City. I am excited to have Karen to myself for a brief moment.
Not accustomed to being asked about my style, I think about it all week. I decide to focus on my work attire, because, in truth, I most like dressing for work. I am not an office-casual kind of person. In fact, I never do casual Fridays (unless I am headed to the airport). I NEVER walk to the office in my suit and sneakers (even though I lost the cap of my heel on a sidewalk grate the other day and had to click-clack my way into a meeting). I feel most awesome in a structured dress or a suit. I believe that I am most productive at work when I am dressed for business. My clothes, I suppose, remind me of my purpose.
I know-- so Catholic School.
I say all of that, but then, on the other hand, I prefer to write in my pajamas. I know this is a contradiction because writing is work, and productivity is important to writing, as well. I suspect that this preference for pajamas-while-writing has to do with the habit and ritual I've long set up for myself to write in the early morning hours. For my first book, I'd get up super early (like 4:00am), put a solid couple of writing hours in and then, as a reward, go back to bed for a delicious little nap. Thus, the pajamas.
I should also own up to that long span of time between my early law firm life and my current spell of gainful employment, when I was child-bearing and rearing. In those years, through all five kids, my uniform was black yoga or running pants and a t-shirt. Period. Everyday. Was I working out then--other than running from school to school, child activity to child activity? No. Well, occasionally. I aspired to exercise regularly. My uniform, then, was aspirational in that regard. But to call it aspirational is to elevate it beyond it's true value as just easy. If you show up at a parent-teacher conference in yoga pants and a t-shirt, the pervasive assumption is that you are trying to fit self-maintenance into your otherwise sacrificial day. You get points for this and you are forgiven.
Yep, that is what I told myself.
I don't share all of this with Karen as we talk under the watchful gaze of the Museum's gigantic David McGee painting of a modern man wearing a dramatic minstrel-like costume. Perfect. Yes, the costumes we wear. Our conversation travels the spectrum of work and motherhood, culture and art. Though I am the interviewee, I am hanging on Karen's every word. She is, after all, such a finder and creator of beauty; such a force of power and connection for others; such a kind and generous spirit. And well, she is funny and fun.
So I encourage you to pop over to her website, Chookooloonks.com, and not just to check out the interview. You need to grab you some Karen! Look around the entire site while you are there. Take it all in. I guarantee you will become a Karen Walrond fan, too and you will want more of what she is offering, namely, positivity and light!
Thank you, Karen! The fact that there are margaritas in our futures is making my days! :-)