Hi Cabinet friends!
I'm back home from a book tour for my third novel, SILENCE, and thought you might like to hear about the dark side of touring. Namely, traveling with a teeny tiny carry-on suitcase for, wait for it, an entire month.
It was probably a crazy idea to think I could do it (hello! I love shoes! And shoes take up space!) but there was also this growing fear that since I was flying to a new city almost every day, if I checked baggage, and it got lost, it might never catch up to me. In the end, I decided to sacrifice fashion and variety for the simple necessity of clothes, period.
First, I determined I had enough room to take exactly seven outfits. Then I picked my clothes oh so carefully, making sure each piece could be used in at least two different outfits. (In real life, when people do this to minimize buying lots of clothes, I think it's called wardrobe capsule. It's a pretty accurate description. Capsule = small case. Small case = Becca's carry-on bag.) For example, I packed a simple white button-down shirt that could be worn with a skirt and scarf, with jeans, and under a cardigan. In theory, it was a brilliant idea...until I spilled marinara sauce down the front of the shirt about a week into the tour. Marinara sauce is NOT easy to remove via hand-washing in a hotel sink.
Which brings me to my next survival tip: travel-size Tide laundry packets. My awesome assistant was wise enough to supply me with a handful of these, and even if they didn't get my clothes clean, at least they made them smell good. Every night, even if I arrived at my hotel close to midnight, I made laundry a priority. In one case, the drain on the sink was broken and wouldn't hold water. In which case I jury-rigged my own drain using a plastic shower cap. Just call me MacGuyver.
I towel-dried my freshly washed clothes, then hung them to dry overnight. If I woke up the following morning and they were still slightly damp, I utilized the blow dryer. In fact, if memory serves, I never once used a blow dryer on my hair. But I can think of at least four mornings when I frantically waved the dryer over damp socks.
Oh, and I did catch a lucky break once. While in Chicago, my hotel had a coin-operated washing machine. Moira Young (BLOOD RED ROAD) and I had all kinds of fun chasing down enough quarters to wash a load. It was work, you must understand. And then when Moira inserted her money to buy soap, a box of fabric softener shot out instead. It was DEVASTATING. Okay, maybe you had to be there.
All in all, I was impressed with myself for rising to the challenge of making seven outfits last for thirty days. There was only one thing I didn't think of.
I don't know why it never occurred to me that readers would take pictures at my events. And post them online. And tag me. During my month on tour, my Facebook feed was filled with pictures of me wearing a pink-and-blue striped dress in San Diego. And then again two days later in San Fransisco. Oh, wait, and in Chicago. Ah! The same dress in Boston. And London. And even Toronto.
By the end of the tour, I swore to Moira and Elizabeth Miles (FURY) that the minute I returned home, I was going to light a bonfire in my backyard and burn my clothes. And probably chant, "Burn, baby, burn," as I danced around the flames with glee.
But here's the thing. I can't stop wearing those same seven outfits. Is it a curse? An addiction?
Or have I simply realized how easy life is when I don't have to worry about what to wear?