Maybe because I have the most non-descript kind of hair (dishwater and now shot with gray, straight-ish) the subject of my own hair completely bores me. Totally. There’s just not much to say. It’s on my head for the moment, it more or less looks okay and does what I tell it to, and I try to have the good sense to work with what the maker gave me.
Put me in a different setting, though, and I become a creature of mystery and allure! That’s what happened to me when I was traveling by train through China in the early 1980s. I’d step off the train into a village and instantly be surrounded by hordes of curious locals, gawping, pressing close, and, eventually reaching out to grab my hair. The same thing happened to me when I traveled in Southern Ethiopia, among tribal populations. My hair became a touching and talking point. It’s a weird feeling to go from being unremarkable and boring in a crowd to the freak-show of the hour, but I think it’s one everyone should have, especially a fiction writer.
In my current book, one of my heroines has red hair. The kind of red hair that invites sin and scandal. It’s her scarlet letter, in fact. I always wondered what it would be like to have hair. You know, the kind of hair that would figure first in a police description, or that you might plan an entire outfit around. I guess the closest I’m going to come to knowing that is to continue in my current line of work, or maybe another trip, say somewhere like the inner Amazon? Bon vivant!