COVID Hair n Writing Life by da-AL + Pamela S. Wight’s Memoir

K-D doggie with da-AL, who just tried to dye her hair turquoise.
Was nature set on whimsey when she fashioned dog noses?

“What do writers do when they’re not writing?” That question flabbergasted me when I saw it on Quora, an interactive “ask and answer site.” In my case as a novelist, I wish I was outside-the-box enough to warrant such an inquiry. When I’m not writing, I’m fretting about not writing.

(For an audio version of this post, click H-E-R-E.)

When I’m not fretting, I’m reading or listening to audiobooks, spending time with loved friends and family, walking my doggie, eating, sleeping, gardening, and ruminating way too much on my hair, as you’ll read later.

Note regarding Happiness Between Tails podcast: Apple Podcasts is taking longer than usual to process submissions, so I will continue to keep you posted.

Regarding friends, look at the cool pen my dear pal, Patricia, gave me! (Btw, here’s a letter she wrote to you and me about her United States Marines recruit daughter, Rebekah Hyde, who’d love to get our postcards.) Patricia planned to gift me a mega-bling pen, but I snatched this instead. She appeared somewhat crestfallen, so I asked if she wanted it back, but she answered that she’d hoped to give me something pretty. Ah, I told her, thank you very much. However, how often do you come across a USMC Marine band pen? With a  revolving clicker that displays their website, phone number, and such?

The "President's Own" is the Marine band that accompanies the president everywhere.
The “President’s Own” is the Marine band that accompanies the president everywhere.

As for gardening, figs are coming in, kumquats are winding down, and so are tomatoes (here’s one of several posts they’ve figured into). “Wildlife” devoured the grapes. Despite K-D doggie’s best attempts, she has yet to de-populate our modest back yard of possums, rats, birds, and the figeater beetles who work their tiny gossamer wings very hard to fling their enormous green bodies into the soft fruits of our labors. (Btw, have you read “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce? So fun and so girl-power that it’s changed how I see beetles forever. Check out other books I like at my Goodreads page.)

It's fun to grow food.
It’s fun to grow food.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall,” here’s my hair short, before the COVID-19 quarantine hit. Sheesh, back then I had no inkling what the future would bring…

BC: Before COVID-19.
BC: Before COVID-19.

No one I know is happy about COVID-19, though my husband likes my newly long hair that resulted from not being able to get it cut during quarantine. It took a while to learn how to condition my hair to where it’s not a dried-out snarl. The photo at the very start of this post is an unveiling of sorts. It’s my hair yesterday, the day after I marinated it in temporary turquoise coloring. Admittedly, it now only looks a little darker.

All the aforementioned distractions and more are why I am especially impressed with writers who actually produce, and boy, does Pamela Wight produce! She’s an inspiration to me and I hope she’ll be one for you too. Here she was a Happiness Between Tails guest before. As you’ll read below, she’s a blogger (find all her social media links here, including for her books) who posts from Boston (though she’s from San Francisco), teaches, gives presentations, and publishes books for kids as well as adults. Also, she loves animals and values life’s simple moments. Read to the very end of her guest blog post to learn of her publishing journey…

Author Pamela Wight with her furry family, Charlie and Charlotte.
Author Pamela Wight with her furry family, Charlie and Charlotte.

“Memoir in a Flash” by Pamela S. Wight

As a writer of several genres — romantic suspense and children’s books — I thought that memoir was one genre I would never attempt.

Memoir is the stuff of hardship and life challenges. Memoirs often follow an individual who battles abuse/addiction/racial and sexual inequities/tribulations that eventually lead to triumph.

But ordinary me? What would I ever write about that made for an interesting “me” book?

But then, several of my blog followers began to suggest that I use my blog posts to create a fun memoir.

What? When I think of memoir, I don’t think of fun. I think of tragedy and hopelessness until the denouement, when hope and love are reestablished.

Cover of "Flashes of Life," by Pamela S. Wight.

Whoever heard of a light and easy memoir? A memoir of ordinary snippets about ordinary life? So I continued posting my fun everyday stories of a dog who barks longingly for pumpkin in his kibble, of an “elderly” grandmother who rollerblades with her eyes closed, of a fear of pedicures and of a scam gone wrong. Readers seem to delight in my honest discovery of the joys — and horrors — of babysitting grandbabies and of being horribly late for a brother’s wedding.

More blog readers and friends/strangers suggested I should compile these stories — those posted and those still filed away — into a book. 

Silly, I decided. Until I mentioned the silly idea to my publisher who immediately exclaimed: “A FLASH memoir! Perfect idea.”

I thought she had made up this genre on-the-spot — a flash memoir? But then my research revealed this new genre called micro-writing, which is also called the short short story. In his preface to In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction (edited by Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier Jones), Bernard Cooper writes in the Preface: “To write short nonfiction requires an alertness to detail, a quickening of the senses, a focusing of the literary lens, so to speak, until one has magnified some small aspect of what it means to be human.”

Well, yes, that’s exactly what I try to do in my flash stories. To show how extraordinary the ordinary is. To show how the amazing lightness of being can be available from one day to the next. The flash in “flash memoir” indicates brevity, yes, but even more importantly, it suggests a “flash” of insight into the human experience.

So, I listened to my publisher and to the beta readers who read my compilation of fun fast stories of everyday life. I hired an editor who wrote: “this is a really sweet, funny, readable, heartwarming collection of anecdotes from your life. I smile when I think about parts I’ve just read, and I’m sure readers will feel like that when they put the book down just for a short time before they find themselves smiling and picking it up again! Even the sad parts of the book are well done, drawing the reader in with empathy for your characters. The humility and humor are what make this a beautiful book. I love it.” (Thank you, Anneli Purchase.)

So yes, there are a few sad parts in here. This is about life, after all. But the sad is infused with joy.

I include eight sections in my flash memoir, with headings like “Fun Family Drama,” “For the Dogs,” and “Relationships.”  I wanted to keep this light memoir light, literally as well as metaphorically. So the page count is a modest 140. My publisher designed it brilliantly as a square book with black and white waterlogued photos of real people in my life — photos from the 1940s to current day.

I must admit, I’m glad I’m now a triple-genre author. And one of the genres is memoir.

On Publishing…

The first book I wrote was Twin Desires with co-author, Ashley Brandt. My co-writer and I were a great team. Ashley had been a student for several years in my creative writing classes, and at some courageous point we decided to write a romantic suspense novel together. We had a great time, because we set aside our egos, outlined a plot after writing about 1,000 words individually, sharing these pages, and then delegating chapters. Then we switched and edited each other’s chapters. After hiring an editor and making a few changes, we got an agent within a month of “putting it out there.” This is rather miraculous, as most writers know. The agent was marvelous and shopped the book to many publishing companies, and we got terrific feedback (all positive). That said, no one wanted to buy the book. We received comments like: “already published too many books with twins,” “don’t want a book with a bomb in it,” “well-written and page-turner but doesn’t fit in with our needs now.”

That’s when I decided to research Indie publishing. After doing so, I’ve never looked back. Both of my novels are self-published (Twin Desires and The Right Wrong Man). For my two children’s books (Birds of Paradise and Molly Finds Her Purr) and my “flash memoir,” I decided to go with hybrid publishing. For a fee, the publisher (Borgo Publishing) designed the books and organized the printing and getting them into Amazon and Barnes & Noble.. I receive 100% of the royalties. Each of these books needed specialized designs, and Borgo did an incredible job with all three.

Visit Pam’s blog for more about her.

How long did your hair get during the quarantine?…

70 thoughts on “COVID Hair n Writing Life by da-AL + Pamela S. Wight’s Memoir

  1. Mary Lynne with The Backyard Horse Blog August 13, 2021 / 4:16 am

    I really enjoy reading and writing short, short stories too. I had not heard the term “flash” before. Interesting! And as far as hair cuts go, I stayed out of the salon for a year and a half. All the while cutting my own hair. Yes, everything was crooked. But I spent more time around animals than people. Luckily, none of my critters seem to care what my hair looks like.

    Liked by 3 people

    • da-AL August 13, 2021 / 2:21 pm

      I doubt K-D doggie cares either. sometimes I wish she could talk – other times I figure she’d just be asking me for food all the time or to play, which she communicates well enough 🙂

      Like

  2. Blogging_with_Bojana August 13, 2021 / 1:49 am

    Shoulder length before I recenly cut it. I held the scissors and just couldn’t stop. I mainly do it myself. I guess I needed a change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • da-AL August 13, 2021 / 2:19 pm

      we all need a change lol seriously, tho, Bojana — any tips for how to get it to be even in back?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Blogging_with_Bojana August 14, 2021 / 4:00 am

        Make sure you do it in stages. I usually part it in two, tying one up while I take care of the other one. Then I fold it over the shoulder so I can see what I’m doing (I’l looking at myself in the mirror), cutting one part at a time, using my index and middle fingers as a comb. Basically I hold my hair between these fingers and slide it down to make it even, cutting everything that sticks out. Once you’re done with one part, you’ll use it with another one to know how much to cut.
        Don’t know if it makes sense.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Alakananda Mookerjee August 12, 2021 / 4:53 pm

    Those veggies grew in your kitchen backyard? Oh, your hair looks so nice in that photo, not that it’s not nice now:-) Checked out that Goodreads page. That must have been good, the book by Elena Ferrante?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. roijoyeux August 12, 2021 / 12:17 pm

    You look very pretty and younger with long hair … My hair did not grow too long during quarantine because my hairdresser is very ressourceful, I think she did not close her salon

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Rosaliene Bacchus August 12, 2021 / 10:27 am

    Enjoyed reading Pamela Wight’s writing journey. My current project (temporarily on hold) is also a work of creative non-fiction which comes with its own writing challenges. As to my hair, I couldn’t take it when it grew long on my neck. Three times during the lockdown, I took matters into my own hand and chopped about an inch off the length while my hair was wet. In July when I felt safe to venture into a hair salon, I finally had it cut as short as possible.

    Liked by 4 people

    • da-AL August 12, 2021 / 2:55 pm

      when I’ve tried cutting my own hair, things didn’t turn out well lol you’re working on other writing then, Rosaliene?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rosaliene Bacchus August 12, 2021 / 3:22 pm

        I am, da-AL. While I’ve put my current writing project on hold to focus on the self-publishing process, I continue working on essential background research.

        Liked by 3 people

        • da-AL August 12, 2021 / 3:48 pm

          Something that’s ever-evolving, no? again wishing you the best — & hoping you’ll share do’s & don’ts you learn — just left you a comment at your wonderful site 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. yayareadslotsofbooks (Marialyce) August 12, 2021 / 5:57 am

    I like your hair! Some of my friend decided it was time to go gray and what better time then the quarantine to have that zebra strip going on? I didn’t and now I think how smart my friends were. Meanwhile I am trying to get there through the use of the famous bottle of hair magic.

    Be well da AL

    Liked by 2 people

    • da-AL August 12, 2021 / 10:09 am

      thank you, Marialyce ❤ your friends are brave souls indeed lol I haven't gone that far, as you can see…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. roughwighting August 12, 2021 / 4:35 am

    THANK you so much for inviting me to talk (write) about flash memoir, and about my own FLASHES OF LIFE, da-AL. At first I didn’t think I’d have a lot to say, and then I couldn’t stop. 🙂 But that’s what happens when we share something we’re passionate about, and both you and I share that passion for writing. And dogs.<3
    I love your Covid-19 hair, long and silky and fits your face so well. My hair got as long as how I used to wear it as a teenager, but with my curly tresses, it felt too heavy, so as soon as my hair salon opened, I flew in, masked and happy to get a cut.

    Liked by 3 people

    • da-AL August 12, 2021 / 10:08 am

      the pleasure is all mine, Pam – thank you for being a guest here as well as for the compliments. your hair is gorgeous in your photos & videos. my hair too hasn’t been this long since I was 15 lol

      Liked by 1 person

  8. robertawrites235681907 August 11, 2021 / 9:34 pm

    HI da-AL , lucky you that your hair grows so fast. Mine grows at snail’s pace, but it is long, very long for me. I need to go to the hairdresser and have a treatment and a trim but I have become quite withdrawn from society over the past months and can’t find the determination to do this. Pam’s book looks lovely and I am curious about flash memoir. I am going over to Amazon to purchase this one now. Have a lovely day

    Liked by 3 people

    • roughwighting August 12, 2021 / 4:29 am

      Hi Robbie. You are also a “multi genre” writer, and I’ve enjoyed all of your creative efforts (although you know I have a difficult time with horror, but of course it wouldn’t scare me if it wasn’t written well!) 😉 I think you might like to explore the idea of writing flash memoir. Having read stories about your mom and your family, I think you would find it fun to do.

      Liked by 2 people

    • da-AL August 12, 2021 / 10:06 am

      ah — I find the same thing! it feels so odd to go out among people, especially when the rules seem always up in the air. your hair always looks wonderful especially in your videos 🙂 wishing you a good day too, dear Robbie

      Liked by 2 people

  9. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more August 11, 2021 / 9:24 pm

    Hello da-AL! How are you? Dont worry about the hair. 😉 You are looking wonderful. Congratulations, the pen is wonderful. I never had thought that the USMC band is such an exclusive club. I hope Patricia is feeling better now, and can make the last steps realizing her dream. Thank you for recommending this interesting memoir, Will have a look! Best wishes, and please stay save! xx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

    • da-AL August 12, 2021 / 10:04 am

      am blushing lol same good wishes for you 🙂

      Like

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