• Nancy K. Miller
  • [Diary of a Memoirist] Taking a break and the long tail of hair.
[Diary of a Memoirist] Taking a break and the long tail of hair.
Written by
Nancy K. Miller
December 2013
Written by
Nancy K. Miller
December 2013

I’ve been wanting to take a short break from the weekly commitment I made to posting my diary entries when I got my new (gorgeous) website last spring. It’s the beginning of that time of year we academics call “the break”―the welcome end of classes for the semester. For me it also means the beginning of a winter interruption I have long loved in a cold and bright New York. With the crush of end of semester burdens, I missed last week’s post, failing even to find the time to say: I’m taking a break. And then today, my plan was derailed by a news item.

How could I resist glossing an article about a haircut I know well? The article describes the trend of stylish women having their hair cut by barbers, rather than in a fancy salon. Of the woman posed in the picture, the reporter says: “her closely cropped pixie is inspired by the actress Jean Seberg in the 1960 Jean-Luc Godard film Breathless.” One of the earlier titles for my memoir Breathless was “Being Jean Seberg.” To my chagrin I learned that few knew who Jean Seberg was; the title would never work.

When I was working on the book, many women who were young in 1960 confided proudly that they immediately went to have their long hair cut off after seeing the movie (I didn’t: you had to have the hair for it). I doubt that the master of the nouvelle vague would approve of his breakthrough movie being remembered by a haircut, nor Jean Seberg her acting career, but then who knows how anyone will be remembered?

Do you remember your life by your haircuts? I suspect that many women do.

And on that note I am taking a break. Back soon. Stay tuned.

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  • Kelly Kittel

    Pixie, Dorothy Hamill, something very much resembling a Mullet before they even existed, and a convex Bob! Hated them all. Why, oh why do we torture ourselves this way?!

  • Marie Bailey

    I've had so many haircuts and hair styles.  Yes, remembering my different hair styles conjures up lots of memories that would otherwise fade away.  I still use my hair to create memories.  I just recently got the ends dyed pink :)

  • Kamy Wicoff Brainstorming

    The most traumatic haircut I ever got was an extremely short one, but I suspect it was because I got it from a hairdresser in San Antonio Texas in 1985.

  • Kay Rae Chomic

    Thanks for an enjoyable post:-)

  • Julie Luek

    I once did a collage of my "hair through the years", just for fun. Except what I discovered was how the hair reflected who I was at the time-- the curly perm look, the Farrah feathers, or the short almost crew cut of my semi-punk college days. It was actually enlightening to go back and look. Now it's long because I can pull it back into a pony tail easily. That too speaks of where I'm at in life. ;)