Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hair Today...

Sorry for the horrible title, but as anyone who knows me can attest, I love a bad pun.

So... On Friday I decided to cut and donate my hair, which I did about two and a half years ago, and about five years before that. It wasn't such a drastic decision for me to go right below chin length since my hair grows like scary/crazy fast. But I was craving a change, something different. So I did it. I bit the big one and went for it.

That's right, folks. I got bangs.

(Cue horrified screaming)

Now, guys, (as in, ladies and any actual men-folk who may have stumbled upon this blog, to whom I apologize in advance for the following hair-related tirade) maybe some of y'all have already experienced the horror of a bad haircut, but there is nothing like the fear that comes over you, like a cold sweat, when you say to that stylist, "I want bangs."

Actually, I was too chicken to even say it. I just pulled out a picture I'd printed out of a bob Abby Lee Kershaw had this summer like a coward, and, hand shaking, gave it to the stylist, hoping all the while she was going to tell me that bangs are all wrong for my face and that I should try something else. But unless you've been going to the same stylist since the eighties, that never happens.

They're not going to try to talk you out of something you want (Also, I apologize in advance for stereotyping all hair stylists, but I need to skew the facts to make this writing analogy better. This is how the magic works, people.). They're in the business of giving the customer what they want. But, God bless 'em, they do their best to make that mistake work for you.

I looked great when I got out of the salon. Of course, I don't blow dry my hair EVER (unless it's really cold and I don't want to leave the house with wet hair), and I'm pretty low-maintenance. You can guess what's coming. Yeah, I can't get my hair to look anywhere near as good as the stylist did, even if I did pick up a few tricks from her. But why should I be surprised? I've never been good at making my hair look presentable, again: me = low-maintenance.

So by that logic... Why do I keep getting down on myself when my writing falls flat as my hair, and do things like tell myself it isn't as good as Suzanne Collins's work, or Scott Westerfeld's? I'm not Suzanne Collins or Scott Westerfeld, so why should I expect my work to be like theirs?

Comparing yourself or your writing to someone else doesn't get you anything but flat hair—er writing. Now, if you can pick up a few tips from the masters to make your own writing better, that's great, but sighing in front of your manuscript isn't going to make it any better than sighing in front of a mirror makes your hair.

I'll be as honest as a drunk ten-year old boy: I've been sighing over the manuscripts I've been working on. Which isn't fair to me or the manuscripts since neither of them is finished, and no one human has seen or offered feedback on most of either stories.

But ya know what? I opened up Evangeline after I'd gotten a few rejections from editors (the nicest rejections you've ever heard, of course), and I'm still in love with it. I can see things that I'd change, sure—style things, words I'd improve, voice things I'd make more Evie since spending so much time writing Mara from Strings, Cass from my (currently-titled) wip Aether, and my home-girls Renata, Georgia, Mel and Kris from Parallelbut it looks pretty good to me.

So I keep holding tight to that fact, that I wrote a novel I'm really happy with. A novel that caught the eye of a rock star agent. And it makes the sighing go away.

Until I look in the mirror. ;)


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hairy post which I totally relate to--with my flat hair and stories that cause me much sighing. I think I need a swooning couch, but I'd settle for a cup of tea and stroll through an old cemetery with you. I don't know why I love cemeteries so much, I think it's the possibilities of so many untold stories.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

...goon tomorrow? ;) Sorry, couldn't help it.

I am so happy there are difference voices out there in the world. What a shame it would be if we were all Scott Westerfeld of Suzanne Collins, you know? You are made to write about NOLA, and that's a gift. Can't wait for it!

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, can't wait till Evangeline finds a home, so I can order it and read it!

JEM said...

Oh, I know how you feel, I hate high maintenance haircuts. Most of the time I just sigh at my hair regardless. I'm never really willing to spend an hour blowdrying and ironing and brushing and ironing again. I love that all the blogs I read are talking about their feelings toward their manuscripts/ideas/the writing process. I feel the same as you!

The Golden Eagle said...

Good luck on Evangeline! Keep up the hope. :)

Krispy said...

I totally know what you mean about hair stylists, which is why I LOVE the one I go to now. She WILL tell me if she thinks a cut will work for me or not.

Your analogy is so appropriate. Keep up the positivity!

Also, give yourself like a full week or two with the bangs before totally freaking. It takes a while to get used to a new cut anyway, but for bangs, I think you have to give them a little more time (for you to get used to them AND for them to grow out some). When I went for the cut last year, I came out of it going This was a bad idea, but now I love them (still have them)! What kind of bangs, btw? Straight, side?

Susan R. Mills said...

Love the analogy! I know exactly how you feel. I'm with Corey, I can't wait till it finds a home. I'm dying to read it!

Danielle said...

I've made the bang decision TWICE. The first time being in fifth grade when I had absolutely no idea how to tame my curly hair. Curly bangs are the worst idea ever, so please comfort yourself that yours could not possibly look as bad as mine did. And at least you got a great blog post out of it :)

Plamena said...

I cut my own hair, and I have for the past few years. And I think it looks pretty good, but if it doesn't I just pretend it does anyway because I cut it and I'm not going to go blaming Myself for doing a bad job : P

As for writing styles, if you remember, I read Evangeline just as I started writing my first WiP ever (only had about 5k of it written at the time, maybe even less) so what did I think? Hey, maybe I can write like Tere, I love her writing style! But of course it didn't work. So there you go, and when you do publish your book, I'm sure they'll be a lot of new writers who will be charmed by your style and want to write like you : )

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Ahhh--how can you tell about your bangs and not have a picture?????? :)

And you're so right. I compare my writing to published books, but it doesn't help me. It only makes things worse. So I'm trying very hard not to do that.

I'm sure Evangeline is awesome. Don't give up hope! :)

Joanna St. James said...

my hair never pleases me and you are right it is just like a WIP, when you get the book idea in your head it sounds like a genius till you actually put pen to paper.
Good luck with Evie

Karen Denise said...

Great analogy! And as someone who took three years of cosmetology training, don't feel bad if you can't make your hair look as good as a professional stylist.

As for the writing, I get like that too sometimes, but you've got the right idea. YOU love your novel and so did a rockstar agent, so the right editor will come along and love it too!

Abby Annis said...

Love the analogy. :) Sorry about your hair. I'm feeling your pain. That's happened to me way too many times. You just need to find a sassy, obnoxious cousin to do your hair. Mine always talks me out of whatever I want to do to mine. Of course, I still end up hating it half the time....

Okay, and I'm with Shannon on this one. You tell us about your awesome new bangs and don't show us a picture?! ;)

And I totally ♥ Evangeline too. It'll find a home. The perfect one just hasn't come along yet. :)

Tere Kirkland said...

Ugh, a picture? Good God, y'all! It took me so long to put up a picture that I was happy with (in B&W, lol!), my hair will have grown out before I take a new one I like. I'm so not photogenic!

But they're straight, thick bangs cut right at my eye-brows (I wanted them a little longer, though), with an even bob between my shoulders and chin, very Anna Wintour, heh!

It's taking some getting used to, but I think I like. I just hope my husband comes around. He's so used to seeing my forehead everyday for the past ten years that he thinks I look funny. Sweet, right? ;)

Thanks everyone for the kind words, about my hair AND my writing!

Janet Johnson said...

Great analogy! And brave, you! But it's got to be a comfort that your hair grows crazy fast, right? (Unlike mine . . . I wish I could donate my hair, but it just would take 10 years, at least for it to be long enough).

But congrats again for snagging a rock star agent with your still-fabulous work. Definitely something to be proud of! I'm sure there are those of us who would love to write as well as you. :)

Cinette said...

Great analogy! btw, I'm a low-maintanence girl myself. But my cows could care less what my hair looks like;D
Don't fret over your manuscripts; don't ever forget how beautiful they are!

Meredith said...

writing is sooo personal. just the fact that you're willing to try is awesome!! go girl!! PS: I've donated my hair twice now. cool experience but the whole "make me look like this hair lady" always makes me squirm. i feel ya;)