Do clothes really “make the man” or woman? They certainly affect your status in corporate offices, as I discovered when I worked for Weight Watchers for many years. (Size was the major criterion but that’s another story.)

However, what if you work at home, like many of us these telecommuting days, and there’s no one to be impressed with your sartorial expertise other than the mailperson and the dog?

As a freelancer who works in what used to be my daughter’s bedroom, I normally – or abnormally, depending on your view – head for that space right after breakfast, still in my bathrobe. Why bother getting dressed when I’m in my own home?

So I was intrigued when I read a recent blog by “The Renegade Writer,” Linda Formichelli. She claims that getting nicely dressed, hair brushed, makeup, etc., puts you in a more efficient mood for work. (The only “make up” I take time for is making up plots.) Formichelli even advocates the benefits of showering first. I tried her advice one morning last week, but got too antsy about the precious minutes I was losing from my deadline. Sad to say, my writing wasn’t any livelier

Though styles don’t affect my style when it comes to writing, I have to admit that interviewing people by phone while not fully dressed makes me insecure. You don’t have to be a writer to feel that way. Many executives who work from home – both men and women – confess that their sense of power is affected by how they’re attired. I’ve given radio interviews and felt disoriented, as if the authoritative voice I try to summon up can’t come from a woman still in her PJ’s! ( I’ve yet to be interviewed via Skype, but that would certainly make me rush for my wardrobe and makeup.)

Formichelli might have a well-earned point. . After all, she’s sold a multitude of articles, presumably written while dressed. So I’m going to experiment with getting dressed before I start my work day, even though it’s a homebound one. At least this might make me more confident when I phone editors, agents, et al. ” Hello there, do I sound like an author who’s well-dressed?”

Frankly, these financially- troubled and socially- sparse days, who else do I have to dress for if not myself?

Website: annehosansky.com

BOOKS:”Widow’s Walk” available through iUniverse.com; “Turning Toward Tomorrow” available through xLibris .com ; “Ten Women of Valor” – available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com. Also Amazon Kindle.



“Literary” versus “Popular.” Fiction, that is. I never thought this would make the front page of “The New York Times” as it recently did. The article poses an intriguing claim: that reading “literary fiction” – as opposed to what’s termed  “popular”- results in higher emotional intelligence and better social skills. These skills include the invaluable ability to read someone’s mind and body language.

These findings weren’t just tossed up at random. They were well documented by researchers in the reputable New School for Social Research’s  Psychology Department.

Both as a writer and as a reader,  I’m curious to know how these books achieve such enviable results. According to the article, literary fiction is more subtle, leaving enough unsaid for the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks. This stimulates his or her imagination.  Even “a little Chekhov,” the researchers contend, stimulates a reader’s ”creative thinking,” which then enhances empathy. A hard-cover bargain!

On the other hand,  reading “popular fiction” is a more passive experience, because these authors detail their characters’ every thought and emotion. So the reader’s mind doesn’t have to work overtime.

It makes many of us wonder where our own writing fits in. Decades ago, when I was a college student majoring in Creative Writing (as opposed to Uncreative Writing?), a savvy teacher scrawled on one of my stories; TRUST YOUR READER! That three-word wisdom is the best cautionary advice  I’ve ever been given. Yet I still have to guard against a tendency to  pour a superfluity of details into my stories, as if readers won’t get the point unless I spell it out in capital letters. Would that make my books “popular”? (Would that it did!)

Frankly, we all hope that our books will meet literary standards, but are also popular enough to reap hefty royalties. Of course, many books do achieve this dual result. “Lolita,” for example.

Blurring the borders even further, we have to deal with  literary agents wanting manuscripts that are “mainstream” – whatever that means.

I  also question whether there might be  a “chicken or egg” side to all this.  Isn’t  it conceivable that people who are more empathic to begin with are drawn to higher-brow books, rather than just the  other way around?

Though I try to catch up with the great literature I’ve missed out on, I confess I also curl up with current “potboilers” for sheer enjoyment.  So where does that place me as a  reader?  Mid-stream ( “mainstream”)?

Yet if reading Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Austen, et all enables me to read my partner’s mind, I’m diving solely into  classics !

WEBSITE: www.annehosansky.com


“Widow’s Walk” available through iUniverse.com; “Turning Toward Tomorrow” -available through x:Libris.com; “Ten Women of Valor” – available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com. Also Amazon Kindle.