Friday, July 4, 2014

What's Your Relationship With Your Hair? A Writing Prompt That Has Me Thinking. @writingproject #CLMOOC

On Tuesday, my co-director asked our teachers to write about their relationship with hair. I didn't expect the prompt, but I began to write a little. Then, yesterday, a guest teacher asked us to think about the multi-genre possibility of any one topic. We already exploded a topic via Kelly Gallagher, so I chose to stick with my theme of hair (after all, I wrote about a student of mine who recently cut off his dreads and began to consider, intellectually, why one chooses to make a major shift in their doo).

In the prompt, I began to think, "Man, there are multiple ways to make something out of the subject of hair." Yes, I know it is a topic usually given to women (pardon me if that is sexist), but as I wrote and contemplated it, I began to think, "Dudes, we're just as vain about our locks as they are." In my brainstorm, I listed:
  • Memoir: the history of my bowl to feathered to boxed to hippie to conservative to Buddhist to Kramer hairstyle since my teens,
  • Commercial: simply one that advertises hair products,
  • Ten Minute Play: dialogue between me, Abu, Lossine, and Chitunga about hair and why they cut it (with flashbacks of my Anthony Keadis days),
  • Blog Post: Well this,
  • Poem: something about a peacock,
  • Music: The entire musical Hair,
  • Research: The Courtier, self-fashioning, men's styles,
  • OpEd: Challenging the gendering of hair egos, etc.
I quickly realized that hair is super important (funny - just this morning I was cursing The Great Whatever for the recent ear hairs sprouting from my lobes....JOY...just like nose hairs, I was thinking). The epitome came that I have a lot more to write about in regards to self-identity, hubris, social positioning, and hair. Damn - hair is central. It is a universal curse *until it thins out and/or fades away and/or grays.

And so, while we were were doing the multi-genre conversation via a very awesome presentation, I began to collect images for a brief digital story on hair (above) in the short time we were allowed. I'm not sure if I will further my making on this project, but it is totally a worthwhile subject that I can explore creatively more.

Finally, I realized something while working yesterday. I'm a complete procrastinator. Why? Because I realized I'm a workaholic who never stops pushing forward because I'm always running from the craziest truth ever. I have 2.8 Masters degrees, a doctorate, credits from Tokyo, Breadloaf, LWP, Cambridge, etc. all because I'm hiding from the true-est essence of nature. I simply want to be a bohemian writer who makes shit up and publishes crap that people find amazing. All my achievements have been rather 'academic' - the 'safe' choice to avoid life as a true writer who works on novels, poetry, stories, and screenplays. Shoot, I became a teacher out of this procrastination, too.

 I do write, I can write, and I have written. Yet, the whacky, crazy, compulsive ideas that are constantly zooming in my head are avoided because I'm totally afraid to throw myself into a writing project that will allow me to emancipate my creativity in an exploration of discovery. Yes, I have volumes of poetry. Yes, I have plenty of fiction, even a couple of novels sitting in folders from yesterday never completing the writing cycle to publishing). Yet,  I flee from them by procrastinating and, as a lifelong nerd, doing way too much other stuff. The real story is that I did a dissertation because I was avoiding the heart of my soul - the fact that I'm an eccentric, whacky, fat lover of life who wants to go into la la land through my imagination and give myself entirely to fiction.

Like hair, I need to explore this more.

Or, is it that I'm already a writer, just defining that title in new realms and spaces that aren't traditional to the New York Time's idea of a novelist and achieved composer?


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