It’s now ten days and counting until I head off to Chicago for this year’s Romantic Times Convention. This means I have ten more days of being me before I assume my alternate identity as Romance Author. You see, RT is all about alternate identities. Sometimes these alternate identities are actually accompanied by costumes, but more frequently they’re accompanied by a change in attitude. It’s a place where you no longer have to try to reconcile your writing with your daily life. For five days or so, your writing is your daily life.
Last year seven of us Naughty Nine made it to RT. This year, we’re down to five—PG, Kinsey, Kelly, Erin, and me. We’ve been emailing each other for weeks now: “What are you bringing?”, “What should we do about XYZ?”, “Who’s got room in her suitcase for ABC?”, and most of all “What are you going to wear?”
Now some people might think that last question is petty, but I’d argue it’s crucial. Coming up with an outfit that matches your persona is a major part of events like this. Plus, as Ilene Beckerman shows in Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a lot of us tend to mark events by the clothes that went along with them.
I’m going to wear a variety of things myself—none of them geared for any particular party (although I’m bringing my jeans and Pueblo jewelry for the Samhain party). For example, there’s my Diva Jacket:
I bought it at a small boutique in a small town, Morrison, Colorado. If you’re from the Denver area, you’ll recognize Morrison as the town that’s just outside the gates of Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a famous setting for rock, country, pop, and just about every other kind of music show. The boutiques in Morrison (there’s more than one) specialize in clothes that appeal to people who are either going to or coming from bigtime concerts and who maybe picture themselves (just for a few moments anyway) as rock stars. But for me, when I saw this jacket in all its burned out velvet and sequin glory, I thought “RT.” I’m thinking it’ll look great at our Cover Model Karaoke Party with the Smutketeers. Of course, then I’ll have to wear it to our workshop on group blogging right afterward, but what the hell, it’s RT, right?
Then there’s this jacket:
I got it in Santa Fe at a wonderful boutique called Zephyr. It’s by Wabi Sabi Wares, a one-woman company based in Colorado Springs that takes authentic vintage kimonos and refashions them into new jackets. This is silver silk in a relaxed, boxy style that I just love. I figure it’s a natural for a book signing or two. Comfortable, funky, able to keep me warm in large, echoing ballrooms full of Ann Rice fans.
Last year I bought a Wabi Sabi Wares vest at the same boutique. Looks like this:
I’ll be wearing it too—more funk, more style, more RT.
So anyway, if you’re around the Chicago area on April 11-15, drop by the Hyatt O’Hare in Rosemont. There’ll be lots of romance authors running around, including Smutketeers, Naughty Novelists, and me. In my sequined glory. How can you pass that up?