The discreet charm of tatty sleeves


GD’s discussion of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite on the Writers’ Co-op got me thinking, in a roundabout sort of way, about naked torsos. Actually, his post isn’t about the whole meteorite, just a bit of it he uses as a writing charm. He has several other charms, which help him, he says, ‘to feel a connection with the story and to imagine details’.

Oh dear, I thought. I haven’t got one. In fact, since returning from Mayotte, we’ve embarked on the Great Declutter, and no mercy is shown to the myriad bits of bric à brac dotted around the house that might conceivably serve as one. Will my story, then, be devoid of enriching details? But then it struck me: I don’t need one – I’ve got my pullover!

A lot of clothes have gone in the declutter, but the writing pullover remains. When I slip it on, I enter a personal zone where I can concentrate. It’s tatty and frayed and has gaping holes at the elbows, and though I could never, by the wildest stretch of imagination, be called a snappy dresser, even I draw the line at wearing this rag in public. But that’s precisely why it works: the very privateness of it is what takes me into that space of my own where I write.

Coming back home, I was very pleased to rediscover it. In Mayotte, of course, I didn’t have a pullover at all. In fact, most of the time, I didn’t wear a shirt either. Which brings me naturally to the naked torsos. And since you really don’t want to be picturing mine, I provide another one for you.


This book cover, along with many others like it, can be bought for the modest sum of $60 at Swoon Worthy Book Covers. Now I dare say a lot of people would swoon at the sight of my torso, but for all the wrong reasons. So you’re never going to see it on this blog, let alone on a book cover. I do sometimes wonder, though, if covers like the one above actually sell books. Personally, I think he’d look better in my pullover. Or is that just me being jealous?

Posted in Writers' Co-op, writing and tagged , , , , .


  1. Although I’ve never met you IRL, Curtis, I’m having a difficult time imagining you wearing a tatty sweater. My thought is that, the more we ritualize something, making it almost a mnemonic of sorts, the more likely we are to continue that routine. [That’s to say nothing of talismans or charms.] I’d like to say I have a writing routine, but I don’t either. I’ve tried several locations, within the house/office and outside, achieving a kind of success with each one. I very much like the writer’s room that would have a big window and look out on some kind of interesting ‘scape, preferably nature, but a cityscape has its attractions, too.
    My unexpert opinion (although I did once copyedit romance and erotica titles) is that those types of covers help a little in selling books. If the author is unknown to a reader, then I think it’s only natural that s/he will be more inclined to buy something with a provocative, interesting, or attractive cover (however s/he defines those terms). In the romance/erotica world that I’ve been privy to, though, people tend to ‘follow’ an author and buy her books no matter the cover, simply because they have a link with that author (which can be developed via social media or otherwise).
    Well, sorry to ramble . . .a charming post! 🙂

    • Your rambles are always welcome, Leigh! I don’t really have a strongly established routine, except that I have to make the most of the morning, before my brain shuts down (which not even the pullover can prevent). I agree with your cover analysis. At the least the one here sends out a strong genre signal, so we know immediately if we want to avoid it or look closer.

  2. Some fingers of her right hand are ready to jab fingernails into his torso, perhaps so that she can test whether his abs are as hard as they look. Maybe it is safer to be built like us.

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