I just spent 5 days editing without changing out of my pajamas. It seemed a good time to share an old guest post I had the honor of contributing to Seumas Gallacher’s wonderful blog. Thus…Writing in Pajamas.
To me, flannel pajamas are symbolic. Whenever I get the chance, I wear them all day, and in case you were wondering, I’m pj-clad as I type this post.
In my mother’s generation, all-day pajamas indicated a mortifying degree of sloth. Pinch-lipped gossips would roll their eyes toward heaven, conjuring images of beer before breakfast, dust bunnies, and soap operas. If a woman wore pajamas all day, she certainly didn’t chair the holiday bazaar or volunteer at the library. Her kids lacked appropriate moral supervision and, no doubt, roamed the neighborhood like hooligans. Never mind her neglected spouse nibbling TV dinners after a long day at the plant.
My guess is some people still think that way, and now and then, they’re probably not wrong. Yet, I never ascribed to that characterization. My pajamas epitomize the wonderful and rare days when I can slide from bed straight into writing mode. I rouse myself to pour more coffee and toss a log in the woodstove, but that’s about it. No volunteering, no grocery shopping, no babysitting, the house to myself…It’s a bit of creative heaven.
If I’m still in my woolly slippers and snowman pajamas when the clock strikes two, I’m at my peak, fulfilling a mission, playing God. Worlds are being created and razed, characters loved and destroyed. Pathos, humor, desperation, joy, and death tap like magic from my fingertips. Who has time to get dressed with a universe in the throes of chaos?
Sometimes I go a touch far, I’ll admit. I want to hold onto that “this day is mine, mine, mine” feeling. I cling to the illusion that I haven’t surrendered my creative immersion to other tasks. There are days when my pajama-wearing mulishness raises eyebrows.
None of you, hopefully, is shocked by my occasional dash in slippers and assorted-fruit flannels to retrieve something from the car or the shed. You all do that, right? And, you’ve gone to the mailbox and…um, walked the dog? Those are things normal people do in pajamas, don’t they?
Of course, I don’t stop there. Yesterday, I split wood in my slippers and snowflake pj’s, an almost farcical feat for which there are no pictures, thank the stars. Still in my pajamas, I’ve visited my neighbor to pick up my weekly goat’s milk supply, and on occasion, I’ve stopped in at the post office to mail books. I frequently wear my slippers to meetings. (If they want me to volunteer, they can deal with my choice of footwear, right?) And if I feel the need to dress up all fancy, I change the bottom half into jeans and yank a sweatshirt over the green turtles adorning the top.
I live in the northwest Oregon mountains outside a dinky town where everyone knows everyone else. I get away with this peculiar behavior because I’m a fantasy author. I’m permitted to be a bit eccentric. If they don’t remember me for my books, they’ll remember me as a lunatic. I’m fine either way.
To be honest, the real reason for my overindulgence in sleepwear is that once my little forays into the normal world are accomplished, I can return to my chair, my coffee, and my laptop without missing a beat. Wearing my pajamas is the bridge that keeps me connected to the fantastical side of my imagination. I relegate the outside world to a space between two parentheses, so the stories inside my head can continue unabated. That’s where I prefer to spend my time, and pajamas give me permission to dream.