On the first stop of my book tour, in Great Falls, Virginia, I told my audience it was a momentous occasion: that morning I'd tucked in my shirt. This comment got a laugh, so I said it again: I'd tucked in my shirt and I'd tied my shoes, a momentous occasion, indeed.
These days I conduct freelance work from home, but for the two years I spent writing Froelich's Ladder (and the two years prior to that), I was the office manager at a CPA firm in Northwest Portland. I wrote fiction while filing people's tax returns and, you know, "working." My boss could tell I was up to no good. Or, if he wasn't absolutely certain, he was suspicious. I figured, the man was leasing my brain for nine hours at a time; if there was only enough work to occupy three hours, well, I'd spend the difference as I saw fit.
Tax season lasts from early February though early April. No one gets their act together in January and CPAs burn out by 4/1, muttering, "File an extension." Sure, there's a burst of activity in September when those extensions come due, but most of the calendar year is spent twiddling one's thumbs. Me, I made coffee. I ordered sporks. I tucked in my shirt and tried not to spill on myself, lest I be forced to pay for dry-clean. I wasn't opposed to earning a living -- if anything, I work longer and harder now than I did then. I was, however, opposed to faking it, which is what I was doing.
I'd like to say I got a book deal and quit in heroic fashion, but that just wasn't the case. I tucked in my shirt until the very last day, when I quietly announced my intention never to return. Since then, with the exception of a few weddings, my attire has remained casual -- until now. For you, Virignia, it's worth tucking in my shirt. Same for you, New Jersey, New York, and Maine. There's nothing fake about it.