I had the weirdest dream this weekend.
I dreamed I had been nominated for an Oscar. (Yeah, I know—I’m laughing as I type it.) Apparently, it was a big surprise to dream me, too. Some people showed up at my house and told me I needed to get ready for a photo shoot at Vanity Fair with the other Oscar nominees as well as some other YA authors, and I was all, “I’m sorry—what? I was just going to eat this burrito. Oh, okay, right. We’re in a photo studio loft now. I recognize the exposed brick and stylists. But where is my burrito? Goodbye, dream burrito. I miss you already.”
A lady with a clipboard informed me that they’d picked out outfits and shoes for all of us—shoes that were “representative of who we are as people.” Melissa Leo got black kitten heels. Annette Bening got some sort of sneaker. Natalie Portman rejected every shoe they showed her. My shoes were Pepto-Bismal-pink suede, 1970s platform sandals with duck appliques on them. I don’t think I can fully convey the horror of these shoes in words. Like if you gave a five-year-old too much sugar and put her under a disco ball, you’d get these shoes. Please tell me this is not who I am in shoe form. I’ve been trying to interpret this. So far, I got nothing.
I looked at those sandals and was struck by the terrible realization that I was about to bare my winter-ravaged feet to a photographer’s lens. At first I tried to make a joke about it: “Oops. Wish I’d known—I haven’t had a pedicure since August! My bad.” This was met with great apprehension, like I’d just said, “I have an unpredictable heart ailment and could drop at any time, so I hope you guys are quick with the defibrillator.”
“Not since August?” Clipboard lady said in disbelief. “Why not?”
“I’ve been busy. And I cut my leg open on a grocery cart, which is a long story, but basically, I gashed my leg open to the bone and decided to Clint Eastwood it out and not go to the ER for stitches, even after Maureen Johnson’s mom told me to. It’s only just healed.” (This is true, btw. What the hell is the matter with me?)
“Let’s see,” Clipboard Lady said.
While the other Oscar nominees tried on clothes and ate good cheese and laughed in attractive ways, I took off my snow boots (which have been a constant fixture on my feet since December…) and exposed my troll feet.
I wish I could telepathically share with you the look of utter revulsion and smug-righteousness on the unblemished face of Natalie Portman. It was the perfect cocktail of contempt and pity. (Note: I’m sure Ms. Portman is a lovely person; she just decided to moonlight as an uber-witch in my dream.) Ms. Black Swan immediately handed me the card for her personal pedicure place in Soho, which was called, inexplicably, The Tea House, and DEMANDED that I take care of my foot situation before pictures were snapped. She didn’t even want to stand near me. My feet were a plague.
“Call them, like, now,” she said, like she was trying to save my life. “Take a cab.”
But I was afraid that if I left to de-skankify my feet, I wouldn’t get back in time. I’d miss my photo call, piss everyone off, and not “do what I am supposed to do.” But if I didn’t go for the pedicure, my hideous winter-cracked feet would be on display (in a pair of crazy shoes, no less) forevermore in the pages of Vanity Fair.
It was a real pedicure paradox. This is what we call an anxiety dream.
I’m pretty sure it has to do with the coming release of BEAUTY QUEENS in May. There’s always that weird moment when someone says, “I have an ARC of your book!” and you feel somewhat confused: “How is that possible? That book only exists on my computer and in my head and sometimes on my editor’s desk. How did it escape? What is it doing at your house? Where is my dream burrito?” I’ve now written five books, and I swear to you, this moment happens every single time.
There’s lots to tell you about BEAUTY QUEENS, exciting stuff, possibly pink platform shoe stuff, but for now, I am sworn to secrecy. Plus, I have to get back to writing Book #1 of THE DIVINERS—I have already thrown away that outline and gone rogue. God help me—and since winter seems to want to be my BFF, I’ve got snow and ice to shovel. Also, “Where is my dream burrito?” is going to be my new catch phrase.
But that dream did make me wonder: What kind of shoe would I be? Pretty sure I would be the red Converse high-tops my son doodled all over in marker when he was ten. The ones with the funky star laces. Quirky, but comfortable and functional. I don’t think I would be pink suede sandals with duck appliques. But you never know.
So I ask you: What kind of shoe would YOU be?
Oh, and as soon as this ice melts, I am getting a serious pedicure. For reals. I can’t take Natalie Portman’s judgment.