Claiming to be a writer already feels pretentious, but asking someone to take a picture of you as an “author” feels even more so.
When I was growing up, it seemed most dust jacket photos showed a guy with his glasses perched on the end of his nose, sitting at a typewriter, smoking a pipe. I do have glasses and I do have a typewriter, but I don’t have a pipe.
So my wife Sarah and I went out to the front yard and found a tree. She took the picture with her cell phone while holding our nine-month-old daughter Ippi. The yard has a steep incline and on her own, Ippi would have rolled down the hill like a pumpkin.
Like with most posed pictures, it’s hard to know what to do with your arms. That’s why my arms are folded. It’s not because I’m trying to emanate attitude.
My ensemble is a lie. I wore a pair of slacks with a nice shirt and a tie, along with my dress shoes. This was my effort to look sophisticated, but in retrospect I realize it’s not really the truth. I don’t wear these things when I write. I don’t wear these things whenever possible. One of the only truthful items I was wearing was a pair of white gym socks (since those would not be visible in the photo).
If this image of me told the truth, it would show me as I am right this very instant—jeans, tennis shoes, T-shirt, flannel shirt, reading glasses, hunched over a small desk in the corner of my daughter’s room—
In fact—My wife just happened to walk in, so I’m going to have her take a picture of me.
My desk is half in the room and half in the closet. You can see it but the surface of the desk is mostly a clutter of books and papers. Plus a cup of lukewarm tea. Whoa, my bald spot is becoming more of a bald area.
It’s not a very good author photo. But it is the truth.
Which has got to be worth something.