As you can see from my timeline, I rarely ever, never, EVER write long-winded, yawner posts here. I'm just too lazy. Funny clips and Caturday kittens and self-promotion...hell, yeah! That's what I use (and abuse) the ol' Google Plus for.
However, today I'll make an exception.
Got an interesting private message yesterday questioning me about what this whole "The Hair Whisperer" series is all about. Not the "story," but what it's really about --- like, "What's your agenda, B."? I was complimented but it also really threw me. Up 'til now, I've assiduously avoided talking about what "The Hair Whisperer" is about. Never. Ever. Promoting it? Yeah, sure, that's my job. But saying "OOOOOKAY....HERE'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, FOLKS"? Nah.
There are a few reasons why I can't do that.
First....I truly believe I'd be doing the few people out there watching an enormous disservice by telling you what I think it's about. I think it's best to let you draw your own conclusions. What you project onto it -- your interpretation -- is far more valid than anything I could dictate. And in some cases, your take is a far better take than mine. So you should tell me what you think it's all about....and I'll take credit for it.
Honestly, I can't even really say what this series is about to me. It means so many things at so many different times and it's always evolving and changing anyway. So I'm definitely not qualified to answer that question.
But what I can say is this -- I'd like to share with you what motivated me to create Leonard's world.
It all started with the attached photo. The image is already kind of iconic now. It says a lot, doesn't it? I saw this photo back in August 2015, two months after Trump announced his candidacy -- and one month before I started working on writing Leonard's story. There's all sorts of things you can get from this photo. I liken it to my "Catcher In the Rye" experience. When I read Salinger's book in high school, I thought it was a hoot. I never laughed so hard at anything in my life. Six years later, I revisited that book and an interesting thing happened. It wasn't as funny as it was when I was a teenager. In fact, it was the opposite. I'd describe it as a melancholic trip. Tragic. Two very different experiences -- all with the same material.
So...what does this have to do with the photo and this series? Whelp...when I first saw this photo, it was like reading "Catcher" for the first time all over again. I thought this photo was hysterical. I mean, c'mon! This gal is totally gaga. It's like she's fawning over all four Beatles crammed in one suit. But once the laughter died, I came back to that photo and felt...well...a little creeped out. I asked myself, "Why is this creeping me out? Is this a reflection of something in myself that frightens me? The idea of becoming so enamored that I'm blinded?" Maybe. All I know for sure is that on the surface, it was funny. But then when I dug deeper, I felt fear and sadness.
That's what prompted this series. Those feelings. And I believe that "The Hair Whisperer" and REALITY (er, Campaign '16) have demonstrated a similar arc. I mean, initially this whole thing was just too absurd for words at first. But then, as time passed, this circus got uglier and scarier.
These are the emotions that drove the creation of this.
I've encountered a lot of ambivalence toward this series from friends over time. I get it. It's scary. It's uncomfortable. All true. One friend confronted me, "Why would you wanna make something like that?"
I guess the best answer I can offer is that I think it's the duty of "artists" (that sounds so cheesy so let's just say "people who like to create") to make things that reflect the world and prompt a conversation no matter how awkward or painful it may be. As long as there is a genuine exchange of ideas and opinions; if art can achieve anything -- if it can do that -- then it's truly valid. I hope that this thing gets people talking. Why is it so dark? Is it a circus? Are we supposed to like Leonard? All valid questions. I've always been attracted to the kind of work that demands you think about it. Art that makes you see the world a little differently. Something that provokes. And if it can entertain, too? Woot. I'm IN.
And finally, I hope this project will serve as a valid time capsule. People fifty years from now will be learning about this freakshow we're currently living in -- sifting through the rubble to make sense of it since time can sometimes afford that us that rare objectivity. Maybe when that happens, someone might stumble upon this "Hair Whisperer" fellow and watch and say...
"Boy, 2016 was one of the stranger years, wasn't it?"
Indeed, it is.
We should find ways to confront it with love and laughter. And by doing that, we can savor it.
In the meantime, rock on Caturday!