Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Flaw in Fairy Tale Weddings

Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal (subscription fee required to view) covered Walt Disney Co.'s latest venture--Fairy-tale princess-inspired wedding dresses. The dresses will be more subtle (they don't copy but merely capture the mood of the princess's style) more "grown-up" and more pricey than little girl's princess wear, but the goal is the same--to have a fairy-tale moment. These lovely pastel gowns will be available in the Spring ranging in price from $1,100 to $3000.

Snow White and Sleeping Beauty's gowns will be more delicate and pretty. Kristie Kelly, designer and spokeswomen for Disney's enterprise expects young brides to be drawn towards this more modest look. But modern, mature brides, she explains, are ready for another style.

Ariel and Jasmine's inspired gown, for instance, will be much more racy. The reason, Ms. Kelly explains, is that Ariel has a "sultry allure" and is "comfortable showing her body."

What??

Why is sultry, sexy, Vegas style promiscuity associated with being "comfortable" showing my body? There are plenty of women who are comfortable showing their body to the man they love, but who would never wear Ariel's gown. There are scores of women who are comfortable with their body even after the strains and weights of pregnancy and age, but who cannot wear Ariel's gown. And to them I send gratitude and admiration.

Let me restate what Ms. Kelly is actually saying. Ariel's gown is meant for women who are willing to expose their body to men who should not be gazing at them for sexual jollies. For instance, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, brothers-in-law, nephews all gathered to watch the long approach of the bride down the aisle. As these modern brides saunter slowly along they are, in my mind, selfishly comfortable exposing their most loved friends and family to the discomfort of struggling to remove the raunchy thoughts from their minds. Not to mention the fact that exposed, over-sexyfied brides are highly distracting to women as well.

How painfully ironic that the moment when all a woman's loved ones are gathered to support, witness and encourage her into holy (which means separate and sacred) matrimony (which by its nature excludes every other man), she is exposing the body she is about to pledge to her husband. How discouraging that the woman fails to see the value of her own soul above her body's sexual appeal. How disappointing that Disney is contributing to the problem. See the beautiful advertisement where Scarlett Johansson reveals a sexier Cinderella and how different it is from the original.

We now have Disney to thank for making a fairy tale wedding possible without having to sacrifice the sexiness we've come to expect.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Writing as a vocation

This last August 2006, marks the two year anniversary of my joining the writing world, a vocation that is alternately humdrum and exhilarating, involving sitting up until late afternoons without changing out of sweats and rubber-banded hair all for the joy of finally pouncing on the right word. By then the sun is setting and a loquacious Dale will join me for dinner (anyone who says women are the chatty ones need to see the Finchers at dinner!)

Condensing my ideas was very hard. It took a full year to get my unwieldy, five-books-for-the-price-of-one trimmed down to one main idea. The amputations hurt. I kept hearing my agent 003's voice in my head.

“Think of the woman home with three kids, will she get this?”

“What’s the general theme of your book? Can you state it in one sentence?"

“Show, don’t tell.”

Finally, six months later, 003 approved my work. She took my manuscript under her wing, and introduced it to the publishing world as She’s Got Soul. I waited, wondering if anyone wanted my thoughts.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Getting an Agent

I started writing, agent-less, for several months. I developed a dry, philosophical outline of 10 chapters--all clear, logical (and utterly pedantic) explaining women’s uniqueness.

Less than six months later my husband, Dale, was asked to sign a contract with a literary agency. I acquired the same privilege by riding the coat tails of their interest in Dale. He told them, "I will sign, as long as my wife can sign, too."

We were offered a husband and wife agreement and prayed and thought about it. We signed on Christmas Day 2004. We were connected with our literary agent whom we affectionately call Agent 003.

I eagerly called her to talk about my book plans. Her response to my outline was that it was at least five books. I confided in her that I would only be writing one book in my life, that this was it, so obviously this one had to hold all my ideas of womanhood. It was probably good we were talking on the phone, 003 wouldn’t have to hide her smile. Wisdom and patience rooted her response “We’ll see," was all she said.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How I started writing Ruby Slippers

Once upon a time, way back in the summer of 2004, my husband encouraged me to write out my thoughts on the woman’s soul. I didn’t think it would amount to more than a fun project that might inspire speaking topics. I didn't think it would get published.

Once someone asked me, "How did you have the courage to write?" I think the best thing going for me, at least at the beginning, was a certainty that I was doing this for me, not for the audience in the world, but for an audience of the Trinity and the Heavenly Host. And they are, by and large, much more forgiving than most people.