and now the author runs around like a crazy person


Thank you!

Thankyouthankyouthankyou to everyone for the kind wishes and congratulations sent about yesterday’s big, honking, life-altering news. I am still breaking out in random giggles. I have also watched the video of the nomination announcements about a dozen times to make sure this is all real. Not only is it real, but he said my name right. How cool is that?

And congratulations to my fellow finalists: Kathi Appelt, Judy Blundell, E. Lockhart, and Tim Tharp!

Now I have four days to pack for the tour, make sure all my bills and stuff are taken care of, take Mom to the doctor’s, unpack the suitcase because I am sure I have not packed properly, repack the suitcase, order the books of my fellow nominees (such a luxury to HAVE to read books!), figure out how to tote my projector across the country, pause every now and then to breathe into a brown paper bag, and oh yes –

– the hardest thing –

I have to find a dress.

This does not sound like a big deal, right? People, well, mostly women, buy dresses all the time. Some women, like Sarah Dessen, actually enjoy shopping for dresses. The OfficeMouse views shopping as a relaxation technique.

You have no earthly idea. The mall gives me hives. I would rather have root canal than step foot in a dressing room.

It’s not that I am opposed to the theory of a dress, not at all. Back in 1999, I actually found a dress that I liked (and if worse comes to worse, I will be wearing it again!) albeit after many shopping trips and after being locked in the dressing room by a friend who refused to let me leave the mall until we found something.

The dress makers of the world don’t think of me when they design their offerings. I’m tall, for one thing. My shoulders are broad enough to make me a passable middle linebacker (most of my shirts are men’s mediums), I have ungodly long arms, and despite my mother’s best efforts, I am not ladylike.

I need a dress that won’t rip a seam if I hug someone, won’t malfunction if I jump up and down, (here’s the tricky part) actually fits me, and is comfortable.

And since I’m dreaming, I want it to have pockets, too. And if it could be made of sweatshirt material, that would be just peachy.

I have four days.

36 Replies to “and now the author runs around like a crazy person”

  1. First, major major congrats on Chains being a NBA finalist. The book is one hundred percent deserving.

    As for the dress thing, I’m with you. Clothes shopping is painful for any woman who doesn’t conform to weirdo standards in which all women are 5’7″ and 120 pounds, with no notable shoulders, breasts, hips or other appendages.

    This might not help for today, but I was recently at a book reading in which Clinton Kelly from What Not to Wear gave one piece of very good advice: Tailoring. It is impossible, he said, for anyone to look perfect in off-the-rack clothing without getting it adjusted. And for anyone with “unusual” measurements, it’s impossible to even look good in off-the-rack clothes unless you get some real tailoring done.

    Why have I not known this all my life? Anyway, the advice given was to buy something one size too big, but that fits in general (just loose in the bust, or with straps a bit too long, or whatever), and to have any excess material taken in.

    So next time you have to go dress-shopping, remember it doesn’t have to look perfect in the fitting room. It just has to look perfect after the tailor at your local dry cleaner finishes with it. (And PS, this can be seriously cheap. I used to pay a woman less than ten bucks to hem my jeans perfectly, with matching yellow string and all. Fortunately, my mother can also sew, and so she usually does my tailoring for me. What you need, clearly, is a friend with a sewing machine.)

    Congrats again, and have fun on tour!

  2. How about this dress? It is a wrap dress, so adjustable for comfort and it comes in Tall sizes! I bet the mulberry color would look good on you and it is mail order, so hey! No Dressing Rooms!

  3. Oh, I love shopping for dresses. My girly side likes to make its presence known.

    Do you have a Nordstroms by you? The salespeople are really helpful AND they have a tailor there who can alter the dress while you’re in the store. The alterations are free. Of course, the prices aren’t cheap. But it’s the NBA!!!!

  4. Hah..the mall gives you hives 🙂 I’m a firm believer that Walmart gives me Mono (and or shingles depending on the day), so I can sympathize.

  5. Eileen Fisher. I am kind of the physical opposite: not quite five feet tall and round, but Eileen Fisher clothes are not very constructed but well made, loose-fitting, graceful, and best of all, comfortable. I am giving a speech tomorrow and I bought an Eileen Fisher dress and I am happy.

  6. Does it have to be a dress? Are we talking really dressy? I feel your pain, I hate dresses and I am considered a girly girl. I would try New York & Company, there is one in Carousel Mall and there may be one Great Northern also. They carry tall/long sizes and they are fairly affordable. One more tip, and I you may already be aware of this. You need to invest in a great black dress and take it with you whenever you travel, you can not go wrong in a black dress. I think a wrap dress would look great on you. Good luck!

  7. TadMack says: 🙂

    Dude: am breaking out in hives with you just thinking about it. My hatred of malls is legendary. And a DRESS!? Oh, dear Lord.

    Can you not just wear a suit? Soooo much easier to tailor, and then you can concentrate on shoes!

  8. Have you tried a place like Coldwater Creek? They may even have something in sweatshirt material this time of year. Same with L.L.Bean.

    Shopping the smaller “botique” chains might yield some more comfortable finds.


    Good luck on the shopping front. I say find a nice sales person and tell her all your needs and just keep trying them on until one works. Kinda like you did the last time. Make someone do all the work looking while you just keep trying them on.

  10. Congratulations!

    As far as dress shopping: I second the recommendations for Coldwater Creek and Nordstrom. If you order online today and spring for express shipping, you can have a bunch of dresses to try on, AT YOUR HOUSE, in two days. Order everything you think you might like–you’ll pack up and return the ones you don’t want later.

    It sounds like you’d also find a lot of clothes to love at Chico’s ( ). Unfortunately they don’t have a single dress in their online store at the moment, but I notice my friends who have a body type like yours love Chico’s clothes and look great in them.

    Good luck!

    –Willowgreen, who often finds enabling just as enjoyable as shopping for herself

  11. Contact Oprah ; ) I am sure there is a stylist out there somewhere who would love to dress you for this event. Or the Nordtrom idea. They will have a wide selection and a salesperson who is used to doing this sort of thing can be your guide. Just be in one store – don’t have to worry about trawling the mall.


  12. I’m not much of a shopper, either, but dress shopping no longer scares me. This is because I have one shop I go to, an independent store set up in a 90-year-old house, where I know the owner. I walk in and say, “I have this gala I have to attend …” And voila! She always pulls something off the rack that I end up adoring.

    So I say avoid the malls. But that’s just me.

  13. I always get awesome dresses at Goodwill. $6 each in Missouri. I also got an awesome looking business suit dress that’s pink and professional and was originally $80 at Dillard’s (it still had the tag on it). But in your situation, I’d go with Brinagirl’s suggestion and have it tailored. Malls = brain-sucking evil.

    Congrats on kicking literary tail once again!!

  14. Another vote for Nordstroms! I also have a non-traditional body shape and the clerks there take it as a challenge to find something I love. For my book launch I told them I wasn’t leaving until I had the perfect outfit. It took 3 hours, but we did it and they did the alterations right there too!


  15. I know the feeling. I’m shortish and curvy, which isn’t favored by teen fashion. Shopping, up until very recently, has been about as much fun as swallowing a spork sideways, especially with my mother handing me clothes two sizes too big.

    Think of it this way – look for a dress, but if you don’t find a new one you still have the one from before. Don’t look for the purpose, just browse. If something jumps out at you as being something you love, try it on. If nothing does, it just wasn’t your day. Take the pressure off the shopping, since you’ve already got something suitable.

  16. I second the vote to order a bunch online and try on at home. If you google, you can usually find free shipping codes! Shoes, too — online shoe retailers have super-easy and free return policies.

  17. I hear ya about the mall/hives thing. ::shivers:: But good luck with the dress, and more importantly good luck with the whole NBA tour thing! w00t!!

  18. Many, many congratulations on this incredible honor. As far as a dress, I say after this painful iteration of trying to find a suitable one, next find yourself a good seamstress. They must be around somewhere (Craigslist maybe?). Have the clothes made to fit you and meet your exact expectations without having to worry about having them tailored.

  19. That is a great idea, but I leave home for the book tour in three and half days and I don’t think I’ll be coming home before the big ceremony.

  20. Given the most excellent news of Chains being nominated, I have no doubt that the right dress will present itself. I’m so stoked for you. Seriously.

  21. I totally sympathize with the clothes shopping thing. I like having clothes that I like but I hate finding them. Unfortunately this results in me having like five shirts and two pairs of jeans that I actually like. Good luck with your hunt and with your book tour

  22. Don’t let the dress-stree get you down! I hear you’ll be coming to the Chicago-area next week, so if you can’t find anything at home, check out the malls and shops around here. Shopping can be fun if you go to the right places!

  23. O favorite author of mine, congratulations, congratulations. I cannot wait to read Chains. You are amazing.

    I too despise shopping, although I love clothes. But I am so-o jealous that you could even fit into a dress that you bought in 1999. I could say that, until three years ago .

    Just jealous.

    Have a great ride.

  24. 1. Title Nine Sports. They sell dresses for people who would prefer to buy their dresses from a sports bra catalogue.

    2. Getting a dress made for you. It’s not NEARLY as expensive as one imagines — more than a Target dress, but less than a J. Crew dress — and it fits exactly the way you want it to. I did this for my wedding and my dress actually fits and supports my bust without my needing a separate bra… which, if you knew me in person, would be the point when you gasped in shock.

  25. And of course, 3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (: Your virtual audience is proud of you because we know that book is a proper prize magnet. (:

  26. Congratulations again!

    “You have no earthly idea. The mall gives me hives. I would rather have root canal than step foot in a dressing room.”

    Oh, but I do. I really do. I really, really, really hate dresses. I have no advice. I just sympathise.

    There’s a wrong way to say your name?

  27. Teeheehee!

    I remember seeing this announcement on GalleyCat and thinking, HOMG! An author from my blog-reading list! (<3 Google Reader) I was so excited for you, and I couldn't wait to watch you wig out on your LJ. The "random giggles" remark makes me smile as though it happened to me.

    I’m so happy for you!!

  28. Congratulations on the nomination! I’m so excited for you! And good luck on the dress hunt. I’m not a big fan of the mall either. I go in full of energy and come out “malled” — depleted and drained. I try to steer clear of it when I can and go to little dress shops that are off by themselves somewhere. Best of luck!

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