Saturday, August 31, 2019

Weike Wang on hair

When it comes to hair, it seems you can never run out of compelling ways it's entangled (pun intended) in our lives and relationships. That point struck home again when my writing partner Michele Genthon shared her copy of the October, 2018 Issue of Boulevard literary magazine, saying, "You just have to read the first story. I know you'll love it. It's about hair." She was right. "Hair," written by Weike Wang, covers a lifetime of hair in just a few hilarious, insightful, poignant pages. My applause is thunderous.

I should add that this story offers a mere glimpse of Wang's writing talents. Last year (2018), she won the PEN/Hemingway Award for her novel Chemistry, and her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, and other publications. For this month's Hairpisode I can think of nothing more appropriate than directing you over to Boulevard's website for a read of Weike Wang's Hair.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hair differences

For some time I've known about hair differences after chemotherapy. During chemo, there's hair loss, which for most people is not permanent. After chemo when hair is growing back it often comes in differently: thinner and more brittle in texture, sometimes a different color, and quite often curlier.  What I didn't know (but should have realized)--there's an actual term for this. "Chemo curls." (Follow the link for the science behind chemo curls.)

According to the Naturally Curly website, many people are horrified about the curls. As someone who came of age in the 1980s "perm" era, this surprises me. Once upon a time I hated my straight hair and endured lengthy, smelly hours in the salon chair to get curls. Kathy Walsh, writer of the Naturally Curly blog post on chemo curls advises -- fuhgeddaboudit. She writes:
I encourage you to embrace your hair regrowth, especially if it’s chemo curls. May you wear them with pride.
In closing, I can't resist sharing a July blog post by my friend Janet who's been going through chemotherapy for the past year. It's titled "Normal" (yay!) And so far, she's experiencing absolutely no curl.

From Janet's Blog:

Narrating my cancer journey – Stories, Pictures, Thoughts 


Hair: I KNOW you all want to know what’s going on with my hair! somehow hair seems to be what a lot of folks focus on. Perhaps it’s easier and more light-hearted to talk about hair than other physical effects of the chemo. Or perhaps it’s the most obvious chemo effect. But to me, the hair is a fairly minor thing. My hair is coming back EVERYWHERE… eyebrows are good, eyelashes are good, hairy legs, armpit hair and, unfortunately, chin whiskers! I didn’t appreciate NOT having chin whiskers until they started to come back! The hair on my head is coming back, gradually, as a baby-fine mixture of dark and white hair with absolutely no curl. I have actually had one “haircut” (neck shave and tidy it up over the ears) already, but as you can see it’s quite short, and still needs to fill in some spots. It is what it is, and I don’t bother with a hat or bandana anymore, unless I’ll be out in the sun for more than a minute.