The Magician, the hairdresser, and the writer.

I went to get a haircut today. If this sounds like a girly story, bear with me please.

The hairdresser asked me what I do for a living. I bravely answered, “I am writer.”

He looked at me sideways, smiled and said, “We’re all the same. Magicians, hairdressers, and writers.” He stood, stooping and cutting away, fingers stinking of stale cigarette smoke, and I thought, a character is born. And, maybe a post 🙂

I thought about this the whole drive home. Is it the way we can take a perspective and skew it? Or, is it the illusion that we can create? Perhaps it is both, and possibly they are both the same thing in the end.

“You’re young and creative – an artist. Your hair should be funky, messy.” It is funny how many cliches there are behind writers. The insane, manic one. The  professor. The introvert. I recently heard a bestselling author (I forget who, and am breaking the rule of never quote someone you don’t remember), state that he began writing because he was British, and tall, and skinny, and wore glasses, and he needed some way to ‘get the girl’. Perhaps this is the illusion – this character simile. Is being a writer different from any other type of career? I suppose for me, the answer lies with this: writing does not feel like work.

I was disconcerted ever so slightly at being categorized with those who alter reality. As a writer, I strive to show it in a different way, ultimately illuminating  human traits through tales and characters that are otherwise masked in our daily lives. But then, I realized that in their own way, magicians and hairdressers can do the same.

36 thoughts on “The Magician, the hairdresser, and the writer.

  1. “he began writing because he was British, and tall, and skinny, and wore glasses, and he needed some way to ‘get the girl’.”

    Jarvis Cocker said the same thing about why he became a pop singer. Here you can see a recent video of him. He’s still tall, skinny, bespectacled and British, but do you think this dancing is going to impress any girls?

    1. Joseph, I meant to mention that I can’t view the video, by the way. “The video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions.” I saw it on utube and i know why you added that here. LOL

  2. Not sure what I make of the hairdresser’s comment. Writers portray reality. Have to say I’m not sure I would want to go to a hairdresser whose fingers smelt of stale smoker.

    1. Did I mention, Lawrence, that he was a hairdresser I was recommended? I have a long standing haridresser who also smells of stale smoke that I adore and I bear it because she gives the most wonderful cuts ever. Come to think, I am not sure if ever had a hairdresser that didn’t smell of stale smoke – here we have another character simile 🙂

      1. Me too, Ann – that’s what I am saying…
        (so the price for this post was a little steep – an 80’s do. should I announce that? should I? lol)

      2. >>>the price for this post was a little steep – an 80’s do. should I announce that?<<<<

        😉 Just call it retro and bust out the off the shoulder sweatshirt.

  3. I think writing doesn’t feel like work because it’s our passion.

    I know engineers who think poking around computer processors and reading and talking about technology doesn’t feel like work. I even know people in marketing who adore reading about, analyzing and discussing business models. Their eyes sparkle, their faces are animated and they are transported into another realm. It’s really quite fascinating.

  4. What exactly DOES a fiction writer portray? We could go off on a tangent discussing the nature of reality, but I don’t think that’s what you intended.

    But it is wonderful to “work” at something you love.

    1. Linda, you can go anywhere you like (within reason:) with what I post!
      It is wonderful, and moments of creativity and confidence go up and down, but it’s never about whether I SHOULD be writing, it’s always about how GOOD I am at writing.

  5. Not only a post and a character, but the title of a story or a novel! Don’t you just love it when you’re handed a gift like that–on a platter. I can already see the story developing…

    1. I said offended in my post – wrong word choice – shame on me :). Caught off guard is more appropriate. A new analogy for me, and odd. For some reason it makes me think of the book Water for Elephants. I have no idea why…

  6. I think I might rather be a magician. Writing is great but at the end of the day I still have to do the mundane household tasks. If I could do magic there would be no more cooking or cleaning, just one sweep of the wand and that would take care of everything. Great! And I could beam myself off on holiday whenever I liked!

    1. Hi Helen, thanks for coming by. A magician is a good choice, if I could manage to do all that – as long as it was real and not just an illusion. LOL Oh, a girl can dream….

  7. Your post made me think of the interesting characters that exist in my everyday life. I have no shortage of source material. It’s gotten to the point where people ask if I’ll include them in my next story or novel.

    1. Oh, Vanyieck, this a post onto itself! The stories go and on and on. Cathryn G recently commented on my post the long and winding road that all stories are ultimately connected. I believe they are. It is wonderful to have the open eyes to take it all in and store it for future pieces. Do you record them somehow, on do you just leave these characters floating around in the subconscious?

  8. Last night I came across a line in Atonement that I though fit perfectly here: …part of a daydream’s enticement was the illusion that she was helpless before its logic…

  9. p.s. Why do I only get hairdressers who smell like expensive perfume and yammer on incessantly about Angelina Jolie and the like? I might be coerced into more than an annual trim if I could meet your magician friend!

  10. oh i adore this post!!
    this is what i’ve always loved since discovering i’m a writer. that i can alter my readers’ reality—and my own.
    it is so creative and wonderful and imaginative.
    it makes me almost powerful and as though i can use it to make my mark on the world. no matter how small.
    i will have changed something for someone.
    and i just love that!

    1. What a great comment, Eden! “this is what i’ve always loved since discovering i’m a writer. that i can alter my readers’ reality—and my own.
      it is so creative and wonderful and imaginative.” I agree! And once I realized that each reader creates their world with my words, it became that all the more so.

      1. yes! each reader does create their own world out of the ones we create. some of the feedback is so odd—but good! people will comment about some aspect of society or what they took away from a certain sentence, and i’m like, ‘oh, i just wrote that cause it was a good seque or suchandsuch.’
        and i’m positive i’ve gotten a lot out of published books that the writer didn’t intend. it’s a pretty cool process when you think about it.

        that just made me think of something else—about books turned into movies and the author’s feelings and perspective on that process..
        new blog post coming soon 😛

      2. Books into movies. Whenever I think about that, I always assume that it is one of the coolest things ever, and one of the most difficult – unless you get to script write/produce/direct….I’ll look out for your post:)

      3. ha! it’s a good thing I check my comments because even though I wrote this yesterday, I’d already forgotten about it.
        Things go in and out of my mind so quickly. Too many ideas and not enough space or time to write them all down!!! 😛 😉
        I’ll get to work on the post. It’ll be tomorrow’s 😀

  11. If you are friends with poets and writers, chances are your own story has been written about somewhere in their writings. The similarities between hairdressers, magicians and writers/poets is the creative process they all engage in.
    My own hairdresser is one of the most creative people I know.

    Great post Jennifer.

    1. Thank you, Bonie!
      It is amazing how different forms of creativeness inspire each other. I love being able to sit and my usual hairdresser’s chair and say “what do you see?”

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