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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Homemade Hair

I had some complications with my haircut. 
It was fine if I tucked my hair behind my ears, but if it came loose, I looked like a spaniel.

I went in for a re-do and came out looking like a chicken with a crazy feather crest,
for instance, this Laced Polish. >>

Not wanting to go in a third time, 
I trimmed it myself today, 
and now I look like a chicken that has taken a scissor to its crest.
____________

I read Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences About Writing the other night, on the recommendation of Orange Crate Art.
VK suggests marking up some favorite sentences with colors, to teach yourself the parts of speech. (Also he suggests rewriting some sentences of authors you like.)
"Don't just imagine doing this someday," he writes.
"Do it. It's interesting."
I know how the parts of speech work, but not their names.
("Verb clumpage" is not a technical term.) It was interesting to look them up as I colored in David Copperfield.
                                       (See what I mean about my hair? v)

I liked reading Short Sentences a lot, and if you're the sort of person who thinks this exercise looks like fun, you'd probably like it.


VK has some great points and I appreciated how he blows up a lot of old prescriptions: Go ahead, start sentences with "and"! 
He writes:
Here's an experiment.
Pay attention to all the noise in your head as you go about writing. 

The voices of former teachers, usually uttering rules.
… 
The things that make you wonder, "Am I allowed to …?"
                      (Yes, you're allowed to. Not forever and always, but until you decide for yourself what works and what doesn't.)
But he writes in prescriptive language himself, and he's the sort of guy who assumes other brains work like his does. 
Sentences such as, "You need to know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs" annoyed me. 
"You need…" How off-putting. (As an editor, I've never encountered a problem with people getting these verbs wrong.)

And, "It's never hard to work when you're interested in what you're working on."
Oh, really? That's not true for me. (Though I might say, "It's easier to work when you're interested…".)

I recommend his book, with a heads-up about his tendency to make such pronouncements.

7 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Sounds like a Walt whitman kind of dude,then. Here's a sentence from a Jonathan Lethem essay;

"Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced."

Thought you would like it, even if tangential. Your hair is kind of cool, really.

Zhoen said...

Re: Haircut. It'll grow. Guess why I say this, and how I know.

Yes, yes I have had more bad haircuts than I can count, actually. Gel helps.

The Crow said...

I just "trimmed" my own hair this morning, so please join me in repeating my mantra: "It's only hair, it will grow out - it's only hair, it will grow out - it's only..."

I looked up how fast human hair grows out - a quarter to a third of an inch a month. How long before homemade haircuts look better? About six weeks, depending on how choppy it was cut. Yours looks much better than mine. Wanna trade?

(I gave my daughter a haircut once [only once] when she was about ten. Had to take her to her grandmother's beautician to have it repaired. Daughter threatened she'd run away from home if I ever did it again, poor kid.)

Fresca said...

SPARKER: Whitman! And all the others who say "we must!" when it should be "I prefer...".
I don't know Jonathan Lethem--nice quote.

ZHOEN & CROW: Thanks, yeah, it'll grow. I'm not really too upset about it--as I wrote this morning, I was actually more freaked out at the hair's change of texture---it never was so spiky before.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, VK can be rather sage-like. I finally realized what some of it reminds me -- the speaker in Margaret Atwood's poem "You Begin," parent or teacher to child: "Once you have learned these words / you will learn that there are more / words than you can ever learn."

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: Or, for me, Mary Oliver's
"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work"…

I cringe a little at these highfalutin' [dropped "g"!] pronouncements about "our work" and suchlike.

Fresca said...

P.S. Though when I was a teenager, I loved them.