The Reason For A High Ponytail

My legion of fan is constantly bombarding me with demands for salacious details about my literary celebritying.  It’s an endless stream of questions like:
You’re going to stop blogging soon right?
Do you know how crappy your grammar is?
When will you settle that non-existent Twitter feud with Tobias Menzies?
Please, please, will you stop blogging? Soon?
But the question I get more often than any other is “How do you find time to read?” Okay, adoring fan, you asked and you shall receive. It’s AMA time. Going against my publicist’s advice, I am going to go all tell-all on this topic and pull the curtain back in the hope of satisfying my demanding public. There is both an art and a science to cramming maximum words into my eyeballs, except there’s no science at all and I’m not artistic. I’m just willing to exploit every available opportunity to read a book. Feel free to take notes!

Before I let my crazy hang out share my reading expertise, though, a word about multitasking. That word is ‘IRRITATED’ because I am lobbying hard to set the word ‘multitasking’ on fire and throw it off a bridge. (Irony alert! Actually a great example of successful multitasking.)  The thing about multitasking is that it implies that two things can be done well at the same time and you know what that is?!? Taskshaming. I can barely do one thing well at the same time and I refuse to be taskshamed. There is only one very specific time in my day where two tasks intersect and I get both of them done simultaneously. It’s also a great example of found reading time. You guessed it – I read while I blow dry my hair.

I’ve been read-drying (Dry-reading? Blow-wording.) forever. Basically, it’s that I hate being bored, and nothing is more boring than sitting there for thirty minutes while drying my hair. It’s just like watching paint dry, except the paint is, you know. Hair. The truly embarrassing thing about this is that when I toyed with writing about this topic, I didn’t think I would have enough to say about it. HAHAHAHAHA. It turns out that I have given blow-read-drying a ridiculous amount of thought. I actually have a list of rules, for crying out loud. It’s probably too late for this warning, but it’s about it get nerdy up in here.

The cornerstone of blow-reading is that you start with a book and work your way backward. Well, not exactly. You start with washing your hair, then work your way around a book. It’s a space-time continuum, sponsored by Aveda and Barnes & Noble. (OMG! There IS science!)

1. Commit to having enough hair so that blow-drying is required. If a stylist offers to give you a “cute pixie cut you can just run your fingers through”, jump out of the chair, state commandingly “I WILL NOT PATRONIZE ESTABLISHMENTS THAT HATE LITERATURE” and storm out. Everyone will know you are a serious reader.
2. Reading while blowing your hair dry means zero control over how your head ultimately looks. More than once I have created an unintentional BumpIt at random places on my head because I zoned out with a book after wrapping half my wet hair up in a big round brush. I think of it as ‘charmingly lopsided’ but I’m actually projecting ‘fell asleep sitting upright on a plane’.
3. The finishing touch on all your accidental BumpIts is frizz. Because you lost track of how long you’ve been pointing hot air at your head because Erik Larson published a new one.
4. Ignore all hype about ‘this season’s hot new hairstyle!’ Your haircut choice is static because learning how to dry something new will cut into reading time. Mine is a breezy style that’s halfway between local afternoon news anchor and Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke Show.
5. For every tenth book purchased, invest in a wad of ponytail holders.
6. Practice this: Look in the mirror, sigh, and put your hair in a ponytail. This will serve because you are going to wear a lot of ponytails. But you are also going to keep up with all of the New York Times best sellers, so SUCK IT, PONYTAIL.

Choice of reading material is key for successful read-drying. Personally, I like non-fiction, but you do you when picking yours. Below are some books that helped me pass a lot of blow time:
(Note to self: retain editor who will flag ‘blow time’ as poorly worded)
Under The Banner Of Heaven Jon Krakauer
The Greater Journey David McCullough
The Ice Master Jennifer Niven
Henry VIII: The King And His Court Alison Weir
All the biographies
All the autobiographies
All the memoirs ever memoired including Martin Short’s I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend, a book that made me cry so hard that I double frizzed my hair resulting in a genuinely terrible picture of me taken later that day at a drag queen brunch. But I digress.

Bonnet Dryer

Book club.

Equipment required for read-blowing is simple-a hair dryer and a book. Stay away from fancy words like “advanced drying technology” when purchasing your dryer. The smaller and slower it is, the longer it takes to dry your hair which makes all the difference when you are trying to work in an extra chapter. You know you’ve got it right when the motor sounds like a tired, indifferent group of bees.

You’re ready! Set your reading goal and go wash your hair. If someone asks you what happened to your head, just say you were multitasking like a boss.

Action Items
Invest in some really good conditioner.



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