Saturday, May 31, 2008

I cut my boys' hair today for the first time ever.

Needless to say, it was a terrifying experience to grip those clippers in my hand and make that first plowing inroad into locks that needed snipping about a month ago. My stomach jumped with nerves as I watched the hunks of hair fall to the driveway and blow away in the wind.

The journey to the spot was born from my frustration at paying $15 a pop for buzz cuts in the summer (I'm a big tipper!). I decided this time to spend $30 for a home haircut set and try myself. I mean, how hard could it be?

Ha. Twenty minutes later, my stomach was still jumping with nerves, this time from looking at the jagged mess I'd made. It's a good thing my 10-year-old is nonverbal and has low vision. If he had seen himself in the mirror, I'm sure he would have stopped speaking to me all summer. The five year old was thrilled, however, despite the raggedy job I did trimming around the ears. He ran right in to show his dad. His exact words: "It's not bad for the first time!"

If I had just stuck to the clippers, everything would have been fine. They would have had okay cuts. But I decided to go crazy and try to trim the necklines and around the ears and therein lay madness! It's a good thing they like hats in the summer (though I was trying to figure out how I could get by with having the 10 year old wear one to church!).

I've decided that cutting kids' hair is a lot like writing a book. I thought it couldn't be that tough -- I could save money and the hassle of wrestling kids at the barbers by doing things myself. I read the instruction booklet but I didn't study, I just dived into things.

Lots of people tell me they want to write a book and I'm sure in the back of their heads, they are quite sure that if I can make a career out of it, anyone can. I agree ... I really do. But it probably won't be perfect that first time. Writing a good book is really a lot harder than it looks. It takes practice and experience to layer plots, to create vivid characters, to come up with snappy dialogue. You have to choose the right tools, you have to practice a great deal, and sometimes you have to know when to be satisfied with what you have created instead of taking a snip here and a clip there and ending up with a choppy disaster.

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