What happened next surprised, intrigued, and in some ways saddened me: within hours, more than 50 individual emails, and dozens of Facebook comments from other (mostly female) writers, all described feeling the same dread of posing for a new photo. Clearly, we all needed a reality check.
Then in December, SheWrites, the wonderful web community, invited me to share the story, which includes this excerpt:
...Recently, when asked for photos to accompany essays from my memoir manuscript, about the relationship I formed with my father after he died, I persuaded each editor that something else would be more interesting--me and Dad on my wedding day; him holding me as a toddler; an image of Las Vegas (where he'd retired).
But I was delaying the inevitable. A month ago, an editor of a print magazine insisted. She suggested I stand in front of a leafy tree and snap a selfie, and while that appealed to my budget (one son in college, another heading that way), I knew I needed help to get camera-ready, a village, and that costs. Photography sitting fee. Make-up artist. A decent haircut, coloring, style. Then, paying for the actual images.
Then there were the emotional costs: Age, more weight gain, a neglected appearance, and a bitterness that a writer's physical appearance mattered. That my story might be judged, maybe before the words are even read, based on the size of my chins, my age, the fleshy contour of my cheeks, the width of my nose, the wrinkles around and the bags under my eyes. What did any of that have to do with the words, story, with writing?
But pictures do tell stories. And the one I joked I'd use until I was 90, suddenly struck me as telling the wrong story. That woman no longer exists, in ways that please and pain me...You can read the full post over at SheWrites. I'd love it if you would chime in, either here in comments, or over there, with your own thoughts on the subject. Are you getting in the picture?