Hair and a spare: things they never tell you about wigs!

Here it is, my new look.


Let me get one thing straight from the beginning. I didn’t buy this wig entirely for cosmetic reasons or even tacky old vanity. Well, maybe a bit:)  This purchase wasn’t an attempt to me look like a beautiful 28 year old girl again. The delicate concoction of synthetic fiber and created color had a single true mission and it succeeded.

I recognized myself again.

Now, when I look in the mirror, something I ignored almost daily for five years, I see someone I’ve known all my life. Me. Not the ravaged person with the scary thin frizz and pain fried eyes. Of course, I look older, but that’s a good sign. I am still alive in spite of everything the bad guys threw at me.

All the wonderful stuff aside though, there are a few things someone should tell you about wigs. But, no one does. I can’t blame my hair dresser entirely or even my friends, since none of them wear wigs! Hell, who knows this kind of stuff? So, here’s the down and dirty truth about wigs.

Lesson One: it can be difficult to keep them on your head.

You have not lived until your wig falls into your lap when you pull off your jacket hood! I am so lucky this happened in my Jeep and not in the grocery store in front of, say, fifty people with iphones and instant access to youtube. However, the bright side is I was instantly motivated to figure out how to prevent that from EVER happening again. Turns out there are clever combs you sew into your wig. They snap down, secure the whole thing and you’re ready for the catwalk or the checkout line. These invaluable face-savers can be purchased from your wig supplier on-line. Would have been nice to know that earlier but, as I said, I was lucky.

Lesson Two:  Exposing any part of the wig to heat while taking the roast out of the oven or unloading a steamy dishwasher, results in this:


My hair dresser’s comment was, “Oh, I forgot to tell you that.”

So, I hope she can fix these delicate threads of spun plastic. She didn’t sound optimistic, though.

Lesson Three: Always have hair and a spare-two wigs.

What important life-lessons have your learned lately?


Muse Humor

Juan Reyes leans in the doorway of my cluttered office. specter-2

smoke-1-2He gestures at the Word file on my screen while extracting a pack of Marlboros from the pocket of his camera vest.

“I don’t want to alarm you, girl, but this may be one of the worst chapters you have ever written,” he says, lighting his imaginary cigarette.

“No smoking in here, muse,” I snarl.

“I don’t have time for this kind of nonsense,” he says, ignoring my icy stare.  “You’re making me look bad, lady. This is the second time in two months I’ve had to stop by. If you don’t pull yourself together, I’ll be reassigned to the Sunny Sarasota Retirement Home inspiring the Silver Sneakers crowd or, worse, I’ll be riding herd over budding artists at Little Tykes Fun Fiesta. You know I’m not fond of kids.”

“You never had kids,” I snap. “They are highly creative. It’s possible you might really enjoy them.”

He nods, smiling that seductive evil-dead smile. How could I, someone who struggles to scribble a single coherent paragraph, have written such a tantalizing creature?

“Point taken. However, their creativity differs from that of adults in one profoundly important way.”

I glare at him. “Which is?”laughter

“Children haven’t lost their sense of humor, my beautiful writer.” Juan folds his arms over his vest, covering the laser burns on the fabric. I did kill him off in my first novel, but he has returned as my muse and alternately infuriates or inspires me.

You’ve lost it, babe,” he says, shaking his head. “The humor you had in the first novel is too well-hidden in this second story.”

I sniff, insulted but intrigued. “Yes. You’re right. I’m just having a hard time making murder, drug lords, and slavery funny.”

He laughs, white teeth flashing in his brown face. “There were plenty of terrible misfortunes in your first book and somehow we made the readers laugh.  For God’s sake, have you forgotten everything I taught you? Humor is essential in this kind of  fiction. It can’t be taken seriously. Think of Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip. A man tries to kill his wife by pushing her off a cruise ship, for crying out loud. But she lives to torment him.  Even a  grim book like Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War has humor or at least irony. Your POV character is too, too serious. Of course, her situation is dire, but she is still capable of sarcasm, if you allow it. Turn her loose. She can banter with the best, heap on derision, look death in the eye and laugh.”sarcasm

He thumps his chest and a puff of smoke rises from the bullet hole over his pocket. “Until the day you re-shirted me, I was one  sarcastic sexy bastard. Remember how humor makes a book sing? Hell, even The Stand had its moments. How about Randall Flagg’s classical reference to Sympathy for the Devil?” Juan chuckles, brushing back his dreads. “OK, that was only in the mini-series but it made you laugh out loud.”

“Yeah,” I mutter. “Naomi is too serious. Maybe because she’s older than my usual characters. Oh god, am I falling prey to ageist stereotypes?”

“Naw. She’s still hot in an obsessive workaholic paleo-archaeologist a kind of way.” Juan grins down at me, perching on the edge of my desk. “Listen, when you had me fired and disgraced by the biggest news outlet on Earth did you let it get me down? Hell, no, you had me laugh in the face of failure, and it made me a great character.”

As his gorgeous Cheshire cat smile fades, I return to my chapter. Time for a rewrite. This chapter only.  He was right about humor – he’s always right.


How important is humor in your writing? How do you make your readers smile?


Photos from Foter





4 Good Legs

gallows humor


humor that treats serious, frightening, or painful subject matter in a light or satirical way

The last six months I’ve learned a lot about the expression gallows humor.

Honestly, I used to cringe when I heard folks joke about disability, disease, or disaster. It took me a while to understand this dubious humor was a way of whistling in the dark, of making the inconceivable manageable. (Of course, I’m not talking about sick or cruel comments.)
My dog Abbie and I are disabled. My problem is temporary, but hers is not. My current pain is intermittent, and her initial pain was incredible. I still have my leg, and hers is gone forever. blue-rng-paw-print-th
Recently, I took Abbie for a walk – for the first time since last November. My husband watched us from the window, ready to rush to our aid if necessary. When we hobbled in, he was smiling. When I asked him why, he said, “Woman with cane walks three-legged dog. Between you two, you have four good legs.”
I burst out laughing and kept laughing the rest of the night. The relief was amazing. Suddenly, my problem was moving into perspective. Finally, after months of suffering, I began to understand how lucky I am and how courageous our beautiful dog is. She sets an amazing example for everyone, and I can only attempt to emulate her good nature.
So, in spite of hardships, keep your head up, wag your tail, and lick someone’s face every time you get a chance!
How do you keep your sense of humor in tough times?
Photo by Foter
Art by Clkr
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