On Writer Hair: Know Thyself; Adjust Thine Hairstyle
Last night, we watched several episodes of Queer Eye on Netflix, in which five gay men help lost souls find themselves through food, fashion, hair style, lifestyle, and home. Not just a makeover show, it's really about helping people become their best selves through being exactly who they are. Then, from your own best sofa, you are impelled to ask, who am I, then? "Me," I thought, "I'm a writer," and haven't we already discussed my haircut problem? Well, let's take that straight to the Fab 5.
19 Writers With Hair That's Scary As Hell.," but no patterns emerged for female writers. "Sorry, honey," he said, "you're on your own. But the fun thing about getting old is that you have a lot to look back on, and other patterns emerge, ok?"
Other patterns: the evolution of a writer.
My first book, the only one I remember writing in childhood, first grade: I wrote it at the kitchen table, on pink half-sheet paper with a blue pen. I stapled it unevenly, the long way. It was about music. There were a lot of poorly drawn music notes, six-year-old style, and there were birds. I proudly handed it to Mrs. Bachelder, the general music teacher at Mt. Pleasant Elementary, and stood there twisting my ankles waiting for her response. I'm sure she said thank you, but what I remember more clearly is that she seemed unimpressed.
The next book I remember: Sixth grade, about a girl named Jessie. Jessie wore a kilt and a Fair Isles wool sweater with her long blonde braids. The cool girls pressured her to try cigarettes; she said no. The end. (For the sake of pattern, let's pretend she also played saxophone.) My teacher Mrs. Sealey loved it. She gave it to Mr. Sealey, an educator and author of some 90 books. He had his secretary type it up. He sat me down and told me about the profession called writing.
Eighth grade. Another book about music, this one a children's book. It was called "Music Can Do That, You Know," and it was about all the places that listening to music can take you. A young boy played piano, closed his eyes, and fought pirates and met the King of the Jungle. My dad brought it to a pool customer, who was a children's book author. She was unimpressed. The district English Coordinator loved it, though. She borrowed it for a time. She gave it back to me in a manila envelope. I lost it in the PCIS band room.
Senior year in college. Thesis: A series of essays on music and education. It still sits on the bookshelf.
Then, oh, as of this year, 30 years (!!!!!) as a writer/editor, the last 20 of which helping musicians and music educators write about music. Somewhere in there, my own book about that, too. That's a lot of writing. Jeesh... all this knowing-of-oneself, and I still Google haircuts from my own best couch while simultaneously watching Queer Eye.
Many things never change.