Anyway, I did NOT have a lot of hair. Like, ever. My whole life, my head has sprouted only fine, straight-ish, mostly reluctant hair -- much more Twiggy than Charlie's Angels.
See? Big difference. No way Twiggy hair will ever respond to hot rollers or even to perms. I know this to be true. I tried.
So, back then, when I was underage and stuck with Twiggy down to my waist and Sophia Loren below it, I rebelled. Not against The Man, or my parents, or anything like that. That seemed a little stupid to me. I rebelled against my peers.
Fine, I said to myself. Fine. They've all (yes, all) got lots and lots and lots of hair. So I'll cut mine off. This stupid hair was short when I was a kid, and I'll wear it short again. They've all got platform shoes? I'm wearing ballet slippers. I don't need the extra height anyway. ("Short People Got No Reason" -- this song was written just for me.) I will not wear tight jeans. I will not gossip. I will not be cooperative. (I will not be invited to a lot of parties.)
My peers didn't even notice, really. (This didn't occur to me until much later.) No on was knocking, asking to come into the otherwise empty classroom at lunch to get in on the arguing session I was having with Greg. For fun. There wasn't a lunch room in our school, so all the kids were eating in classrooms, and Greg and I would find an empty one, take our lunches, and argue. Debate. Pace and gesticulate and find the weird, geeky, brainy mind-flirting we both liked a lot better than the options that involved actual, physical, personal space.
Anyway, here I am, forty years later, ready to rebel again. Other people make New Year's Resolutions, but I like the French idea of September's being the second new year, and it's in the fall that I like to find mottos (not resolutions) for navigating the coming months. This year's idea didn't come to me until October. And today, in the middle of November, on a day when my hair feels particularly short and my arguing brain particularly spoiling for a fight, a whole manifesto of anti-pop-cultural ideas for the year tumbled in. Here they are.
Short-Haired Girl ~ A Manifesto
1. Think Inside the Box
My life has categories. These categories matter to me, and I'm tired of filling my life with what doesn't matter. This is the year to say no to anything that doesn't fill the boxes I want to keep.
2. Stop Multi-Tasking
Research shows that there is no such thing anyway. The appeal of multi-tasking is its ability to distract from what really matters and replace it with noise and bother.
3. Don't Play to Win
Play to play. A writing practice, and a religious practice, and a music practice, and a cookery practice ... these things are for practice. The practice is the thing. There's no awards ceremony.
4. Use the Power of Negative Thinking
Gretchen Rubin calls this making the positive argument.
5. Do Follow the Leader
But choose the Leader you follow. This year, my Leaders are Mark Sisson, the American Bookseller's Association, St. Hilda of Whitby, and all the working writers I know. My leaders are assisted by podcasters, dead writers I know, and as many miles of walking as I can manage to walk.
This is my second manifesto. Writing manifestos is another thing I got from Gretchen Rubin. Manifestos help me think. And here, within the next few months, I hope to be thinking and blogging mostly about two things:
- North Bank Books, the new bookstore opening in Stevenson, Washington, in 2018;
- and my own professional writing career, which, so far, has consisted of almost nothing.
I'll be working on these things, and blogging about them, in short hair.