Initially, I figured I’d have at least ten books rewritten and ready for publication by now. But life sometimes intervenes and that wasn’t possible due to health issues. (I have AS, ankylosing spondylitis, a dastardly autoimmune condition.) I pride myself in having a positive attitude and not allowing my illness to get the best of me...but sometimes the AS smacks me down for a while.
I was excited because my new books would mark my return to my writing roots (contemporary romance and women’s fiction) after I spent several years writing erotic romance novels. Of course, I made the mistake of merrily flapping my jaws all over the internet, letting everyone know I’d have the first crop of my new books ready soon.
In between flares, I wrote like a woman possessed, working hard to get the first three books in my Greek Delights series (book 1 - Exercising Her Options; book 2 - Chocolate Gratitude; and book 3 - Darling Scarecrow) ready for release. I remember the victorious feeling when I had managed to write a total of 42,817 words in eight days. For me, this was nothing short of amazing.
I’ve decided that rewriting is far more difficult than writing a book from scratch. I tore those suckers apart, significantly revamping each story, adding several new characters, changing storylines, focusing more on love, friendship and romance rather than sex, etc. By the time I’d finished these three books they bore little resemblance to the originals.
By now you might think the title of this post “Inexcusably Dirty Author Confesses” has something to do with me writing those naughty, smutty books in the past. Nope. Actually, it refers to my dedication, determination, discipline…and the shocking lengths to which I’ll go to ensure my writing goals are met. I wish I could say what I’m about to confess is new, but it’s not. I’ve done it before. So what’s my dirty little secret?
Well, to accomplish my astounding writing feat, making sure to have my new books completely rewritten, professionally edited and ready for an April 15, 2014 release date, something had to suffer. In this case, it was my hair. It went unwashed for nine days. Yes, that’s right, I said nine.
We’re talking hair so grimy and greasy it stank.
Why in God’s name would I do this? I dunno. I guess after writing for many years I've found the best way for me to meet my writing goals is to procrastinate until the last minute, then leave everything else go while I write like hell because I work best when under pressure. (Note: this tactic is not recommended to anyone with a normal, functioning brain.)
I remember my husband calling one afternoon as I sat typing like a madwoman, pausing long enough for only the occasional scratching of my greasy, itchy scalp. “Hi,” I greeted him, my gaze never leaving the monitor as I spoke. “I’m in the middle of a rewriting a love scene,” I said, breathing heavily. *girlish giggle* “What’s up?”
“I thought you might like to go out to dinner tonight to give you a break from cooking because you’ve been working so hard on your books,” Mr. Daisy said.
That sounded heavenly.
I estimated how long it would take to finish the love scene. Yes, I could do dinner as long as I worked up to the last minute before we walked out the door. Then I ran my fingers through my hair. It stood straight up--and stayed there as I shook my head. Sort of like a Mohawk, but higher…and fuller.
“I can’t go,” I said after calculating the time it would take to wash my hair, dry it, curl it and apply fresh makeup. It would be impossible to get all that done in so little time.
But my foodaholic brain screamed Yes, yes, yes! Dinner, wine and dessert, and no dishes!
NO! I had to get that love scene finished without rushing through it and botching it up just because I’m a hopeless glutton whose priorities are appallingly twisted. “My hair’s too dirty.”
Mr. Daisy chuckled. “Sure you can. Just wash it, honey.”
Dear God, how could I even begin to explain to Mr. Clean that his writer wife is so damned obsessed with finishing her book that she can’t be bothered to take the time to wash her hair? If the man even had an inkling it had been nine days since I’d washed it, he would have gasped in horror, dragged my repulsive head to the kitchen sink, and scrubbed it with scouring powder.
I was so ashamed. Ashamed and dirty and filthy and disgusting and thinking about what I wanted to order from the menu.
“Okay, I’ll go,” I told him, deciding to resort to something I hadn’t done in years. Powder my hair. When I was a teenager there used to be a dry powder shampoo in an aerosol can created for just that reason.
Here’s a photo of me when I used to use it:
PSSSSSST is back on the market again. A similar product was shown on Dr. Oz a while ago. The audience was in awe. I was deeply chagrined at the realization I might be the only Dr. Oz viewer old enough to remember the original product.
The new ad says: Use between normal shampoos, on camping trips, after workouts or sports or when you are ill and can't get your hair wet.
I wasn’t camping, hadn’t worked out and wasn’t ill. The product should definitely include “obsessed, crazed and lazy” on the label. I mean, there must be more women like me out there…right?
I kept writing until I completed the love scene. It was sheer perfection. I laughed, I cried, I sighed, and then I had a cigarette. (ed: I don’t smoke…just added for dramatic effect. *girlish giggle*)
I looked at the clock and winced. I had to be ready in twelve minutes. I raced upstairs to the bathroom. Not having any PSSSSSST, I used my perfumed bath powder with the big fluffy powder puff. I looked in the mirror at my beyond-ridiculously greasy, dirty, itchy hair, willing myself not to do one of those ugly laughing-crying things because then I’d have a red nose and puffy eyes as well as bag lady hair.
Good God, what had I become? Regrettably, there was no time for much-needed self-analysis so I commenced with the powdering of my medium brown hair.
With one glance at my reflection I painfully recalled that there is dirty and then there is REALLY dirty--and that the dry shampoo I used as a teen didn’t work on really dirty hair. Now I had super greasy hair with white particles clinging to the oily strands and so much powder at my roots they looked even grayer than when I forget to color my hair. Plus my face was full of powder.
As I brushed the powder through my hair it fell everywhere. On my clothes, on the sink, the counter, the floor…every-fucking-where.
When I was finished my hair looked…unnatural. Dull, lifeless. Like a wig. I’d say I looked like a lifeless mannequin except mannequins are skinny.
If I’d had a jaunty beret, a 40’s style picture hat, or even a suitable scarf to use, like a gypsy, or maybe like a doo-rag, I might have been able to go out without anyone noticing my shameful predicament. My one beret from high school was old and probably mildewy, which wouldn’t help the situation. I was all out of fashionable picture hats. And I couldn’t pull off a doo-rag because, with my wide face, I don’t do flat hair. I did have a Halloween witch’s hat and some big straw summer hats, which I certainly couldn’t wear in Portland on a rainy evening.
Perhaps I should have just attached an umbrella to my head...
I have since purchased a couple of classy fashion wigs to keep on hand for future dirty hair days. My husband assures me they look just like my real hair.
Anyway, I cleaned myself and the bathroom, then styled my oddly-hued lackluster hair as best I could, considering the fact that it stood out, away from my head if I so much as moved an inch. I’d just finished when Mr. Daisy walked in the door.
“Hey, you look nice,” he said when he saw me.
He rarely notices how I look. Suspicious, I narrowed my eyes. “What exactly do you mean by that?”
“Nothing.” He got that deer caught in the headlights look men get when women question them about their appearance. “I just meant you look nice, that’s all.” He nervously licked his lips. “Very nice.”
“Uh-huh…what about me in particular looks nice?”
Clearly terrified of uttering something wrong, he gave me a quick appraisal. “Your hair,” he said with a hopeful smile. “It looks different. Nice. Nicer than usual, I mean. Did you color it?”
“Yes,” I lied. His casual response was enough to satisfy my concern that I might look too abnormal to go out in public. So I grabbed my purse. “I’m ready, let’s go.”
I wore black. I usually do when I go out. Not because I’m goth, but because if I wear a light color, the persnickety laws of the universe dictate I’ll spill food on my shirt, and also because I suffer from perpetual dieter mentality and I know full well that …
Halfway through the meal I absently scratched my head. I had to. It itched like mad with all that perfumey powder in it.
Mr. Daisy was in the middle of wiping his mouth with his napkin when he looked at me and his jaw dropped.
“What’s the matter?” I asked. He started laughing. “What!? What’s wrong? Why are you laughing?”
“Your hair. It’s standing straight up,” he said, gesturing. “And your shirt’s all full of…holy shit, Daisy, is that, dandruff?”
I gasped, snatched the mirror from my purse, took a look, then started hyperventilating.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God… It’s powder. I powdered my hair because I didn’t have time to wash it.” I tried to flatten my Mohawk halo, then brushed at my shirt. Did you ever try to wipe bath powder off a black knit shirt? It doesn’t work. I had this huge powdery grayish spot that just kept getting bigger and worse as I wiped it.
This might have had something to do with the fact that my hand--the one I’d scratched my head with--was coated with powder (it was even caked under my fingernails). Powder that had combined with the oil in my hair to become…oily powder.
I burnished the hell out of my shirt with the cloth napkin, which only served to set the powder in like it was a decade-old stain.
I was beyond elated that I’d brought a cardigan sweater with me. I grabbed it from the seat of the booth and yanked it on, drawing it so close so that I resembled an oddly coiffed waif caught in a blizzard. The cardigan was black too.
“You did what?” Mr. Daisy clearly had difficulty getting the question out due to laughing like a damn hyena as he asked it. “You look like you got your finger stuck in a light socket.” He laughed harder. “You look like a cartoon! No, wait, you look like Marie Antoinette...or George Washington!”
I glanced around the restaurant to be met with the polite yet horrified expressions of patrons. I could tell damn well they were restraining hardcore belly laughter.
I was tempted to snarl at them, "Yeah, okay, so my hair may not look as good as yours, but I wrote 42,817 words in 8 days, bitches! What did you do - besides shampooing?" But I refrained.
Slinking down in the booth I removed my sweater, looked in the mirror as I arranged my hair, which snowed down more powder, and then slipped the cardigan back on, clutching it at my throat.
“Better?” I asked Mr. Daisy.
“You look beautiful, honey,” he lied with husbandly chivalry.
When I got home I washed my hair so hard…
So now you know my shocking, shameful story. Okay, I’ve got to go. I have more than 20 other manuscripts to rewrite and I haven’t washed my hair since…um, let’s just say it’s time.
If you have any shameful stories to share about yourselves please do, it will make me feel so much better to know I’m not alone.
BEWARE: Before you comment, please remember that when people are cruel and judgmental about the less fortunate…or the *ahem* less clean…God may smite you (that means he’ll slap you upside the head) with his holy smiting stick.
P.S. The best part of my tragic tale is that the first 3 books in my brand new Greek Delights series are available NOW from Amazon as Kindle Editions. Yay!
You can find out more about the books and read an excerpt on the books page of my Daisy Dexter Dobbs author website.
Of course, if you’re as excited as I am about my new contemporary romances and prefer to just skip right over to Amazon to purchase the books instead, here are the links:
Book 1: Exercising Her Options
Book 2: Chocolate Gratitude
Book 3: Darling Scarecrow
Don’t have an amazon Kindle? No problem Just check the FAQ page on my website for links for free Kindle apps for your PC or cellphone!
--Daisy Dexter Dobbs a/k/a Super Earthling…roger wilco, over and out