I’ve been posting with more frequency than usual as of late. This is a very good sign. It means that I am more often seeking a break from book writing. Since I have very nearly given up on pleasure reading until the manuscript is complete, the only respite I have is blogging.
I am serious about not reading anymore. I have read only one book this year. We’re twelve days in, people, twelve days in. Can you believe that? Nearly two weeks, and only one book read! Cripes!
This reassures me. If I can give up reading, I can give up other addictions. For instance, if I ever start using heroin, I’ll be able to stop. I don’t intend to try, but it’s comforting to know, just in case.
So I keep getting your hopes up about my reflections on A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I keep letting you down. Like Charlie Brown with Lucy’s football, you keep coming back, hoping things will be different this time. They won’t.
I have a pretty good excuse for not writing about it this evening. John Irving’s novel has had such a very profound effect upon me that I want my write-up of the experience to be significant and well-crafted. “Well-crafted” is not something you’re going to get from me after I’ve had three glasses of wine, which I have. (Rough day, what can I say?) I’ll write about Owen Meany when I am a properly conscientious, sober frame of mind.
Besides, I write about novels too much as it is. This has come to my attention from… from… I don’t have a pseudonym for you yet, but you know who you are. One of my colleagues requested that I stop blathering on so much about novels and turn my attentions to something like he tends to read, i.e., a technical manual.
I do not have any technical manuals around here, but I do have an example of technical writing. Ahem:
The instructions for Nice’nEasy Color Blend Technology: Expert blend of 3 tones for natural color with highlights
A Review by Jessica Zellers
My hair has not been its natural color in six years. (It’s mousy brownish, if I remember correctly.) I have placed every color from the spectrum on my head, and I mean every color. Blonde, black, blue, green, red, purple, pink, and variations thereof—I’ve tried them all, even orange. The orange was a mistake, but still. I’ve done it all.
Because of my frequent intimacy with home hair coloring, I never read the instructions anymore. Perusing the instructions for Nice’nEasy hair coloring was like greeting an old friend, one whom I hadn’t thought of in years.
The instructions are printed on an extra-large sheet of newspaper-quality paper. It’s cheap and thin, but I appreciate the inexpensive material. It helps keep the cost of my hair dye down.
The sheet is printed on both sides. One side is in Spanish. I will not be reviewing this side, as I studied French in college.
The very top bit of the paper has a section called “Before you color: 48 hours in advance.” Apparently, you are supposed to test the dye on a sample strand before you color your whole head. “HAIR COLORANTS CAN CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTIONS,” says the instruction sheet, in all caps. Improper use of hair coloring can lead to orange hair, too, which I am sad to report is not mentioned at all, not in this section or anywhere in the instructions.
Does anybody every actually do the test in advance? I know I don’t. Let’s skip to the good part, starting with Get Ready to Color.
It says to use a smock or an old towel. That’s dumb. I just go about nekkers when I’m dying my hair. It all washes off in the shower.
Then we have Apply Color, wherein the instructions advise the user to part the hair into small, even sections. I never have the patience for this.
Next up is Time It. The instructions tell me to time for twenty-five minutes. I always just read a chapter of whatever I’m book I’m reading. Apparently my method of measuring elapsed time isn’t sophisticated enough for the folks at Clairol.
Finally, we have Rinse and Gloss, in which the colorist should add a “small amount of warm water and massage into a lather.” A small amount? Screw that. I just stand under the shower head and let the faucet do its work.
In conclusion, I have mixed feelings about this example of technical writing. While it may be good for novices, it does not acknowledge my needs or habits. The plot was predictable, easily summed up in two parts: 1.) Add hair dye. 2.) Change your color! The character development was practically nonexistent, and I could determine no appreciable setting or atmosphere. The syntax was choppy, with no dialogue to break the monotony. But the pace was good, with helpful bullets to guide the eye to the important steps.
And why do I have instructions for dying hair lying about? Because I am changing the color next week. I’ll add the mystery color next Friday afternoon, and then I’ll visit Hairdresser Jeff.
Hairdresser Jeff, who is probably my favorite person in all of Wilhelmsplatz, has been absent from my life for half a year, ever since that fateful day when I turned my hair pink. I am growing my hair out for a bit, but it has reached the point where it looks absolutely dreadful unless I put it in pigtails.
For those readers who do not have the pleasure of regularly seeing me in person, I direct you toward a photo taken by Bookish Jet this morning:
Critics might be tempted to make fun of my pigtails, as they are really short and insubstantial right now. I, however, think they have potential. Like a nine-year old’s erection, there’s not much there now, but there’s the promise of something more.
(Promise for the boy, I mean. I didn’t mean that pornographically. Ew.)
At any rate, I hope no one’s gotten too fond of the blond. A new color is on the horizons, but I’m not going to tell anyone what it is. Stay tuned!