The fun of writing is pretending – Deborah Blumenthal

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By Deborah Blumenthal

Sage Parker knows how to dress – I know, I created her. She can pair that perfect blanket pencil skirt with a classic white shirt, and then shake things up with a grass green Chanel jacket, or a handful of fun necklaces. She has a wardrobe of high-quality staples, but she takes them up a few notches with quirky finds, some designer quality, others from vintage shops or Uniglo and H&M. And then there are all the high-end shoes and handbags she owns that go the distance in terms of completing her chic outfits. ♥

Not all Sage’s clients have the budgets to buy couture clothes, but no matter. Sage mixes investment pieces with cheap chic. She knows where to shop and when. Best of all, she has fun doing it and doesn’t take any of it too seriously.

Wear your old clothes like they’re new, and new clothes like they’re old, as the French say.

What am I leading up to?

As I said, I created Sage Parker. But I’m no Sage Parker. I’m a fraud.

While it’s easy and fun to talk about dressing well, doing it is something else.

I remember my six-year-old daughter turning to me one day and saying, “I know how to swim, I just can’t do it.”

That sort of sums it up. I know great fashion when I see it, but I can’t exactly shop for it or put it together. Especially on my own body.

So what do I do?

I work at channeling Sage Parker. What would she do? How would she dress me if she were standing here? If I told her I was going to a book signing, say, what would she tell me to wear? The safe black gabardine slacks and cashmere sweater I’d probably grab? Jeans and boots with the navy pinstripe Ralph Lauren jacket, my investment piece and go-to staple that works just about anywhere? Or would she come up with some far more interesting pieces?

The fun of writing is pretending. You’re the best-dressed woman in the room. You have that yellow diamond ring from Graff and a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park in New York, not to mention a retreat on the Amalfi coast. You always know what to say, or what not to say. You have the perfect men in your life and the most giving, compassionate friends. Yes, it’s all fiction, but the more you write about that life, the more it becomes real to you. Sick as it may sound, you sometimes would rather spend time with your fictional friends in your made-up world than the real one.

The tired cliché is true. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. That about sums up writing – when it’s going well. When you have a start and you’re past the stage of deleting all the garbage you’ve spent the past few weeks slaving over. And when you’ve created characters you enjoy spending time with, chances are your readers will feel the same way.

So I give you Sage Parker, wardrobe consultant extraordinaire. While you follow her on her journey of finding the writer of the love letter that captivated her from the moment she read it, may she inspire you to wear clothes that make you look and feel fabulous.

Or to quote Virginia Woolf: Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.

Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and nutritionist who divides her time between writing children’s books and adult novels. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times, and a home design columnist for Long Island Newsday. Someone Else’s Love Letter is out now.

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