It wasn't always like this. In fact, there was a time when "preppy" was my sartorial goal. Those were my country club days.
You see, my father was a golfer and a businessman in the "Mad Men" mold, so naturally he joined the local country club, and for a few years we kids got to enjoy its pool and other facilities. Dad loved the place, but the rest of us never quite fit in. My brother played tennis with the college-bound daughters of doctors and lawyers, but the girls he actually dated would become nurses and secretaries. My sister joined the synchronized swimming team, but she was too much of an individualist for the standard tank suit. Hers was black and a one-piece, as required, but it was a one-shoulder job with a teardrop cutout. As for me, I was too chubby and geeky for that pool set. I did water handstands and somersaults by myself while "Marco ... Polo" rang out around me.
So when Mom let the membership expire after Dad died, it wasn't a big deal. For a while I continued to want the Villager skirts with matching sweaters, but the times they were a-changin' and many of my clean-cut classmates were headed toward beads and fringe. We were all getting beyond the country club.
Or so I thought, until I wrote a book. Turns out that today's "country club" is traditional book publishing. The logic is the same: You have to join the club to be acknowledged as a Someone, but you can't join unless you're Someone. You need an agent to gain connections, but you can't get an agent unless you have connections. Oh, and self-publishing? It's just not done, my dear. You'll never get respect if you golf at the public course.
But the times they are still a-changin'. E-books and print-on-demand have the big New York houses worrying, and agents are either learning new tricks or missing out on the treats. And I, like lots of other writers, don't care about memberships; we just want to play a round of golf or take a swim.
Sure, it would be nice to see Fish-Eye Lens handsomely bound by a big-name press ... but it's not that kind of book and my dreams aren't that ambitious. I don't expect it to make tons of money or be endorsed by Oprah, and it's far from being Serious Literature. I just want it to be read by the sort of people who will find it fun. Tiny Brandylane Publishers is fine for me.
So forget the black tank suit and the country club pool. I'm taking a dip in a bright blue-green-yellow number that makes me look like an Easter egg ... or the kind of island girl I write about.