I was thinking about the pictures of authors that are always snugly tucked within the folds of the book jacket, or slapped on the back o’ the paperback. We might judge the book by the cover, but whoodoggies, do we enjoy a nice surprise sometimes when we behold the mug of the pages’ eloquence. Am I right about this? You’re reading along about the antique trade that Maureen Stanton has been sleuthing for years and then you take a peek at her visage and the fact that she shares your last name AND looks like she could be your older sister? Cosmic spooks, that’s what happens.
The author portraits are the grown-up answer to the high school senior portrait. They are often black and white and posed in such a way as to say, “When I am not busy writing, I wear trench coats and stand in the middle of Italian piazzas and look thoughtful.” They are funny, aren’t they?
But you know what you never see? You never see anyone really behaving badly or looking less than impeccable in their portrait. You never see anyone wincing after ripping off a band-aid, or giving tourists a busted look because you have no idea where the museum of carpooling is that they allege is somewhere around here, or eating a doughnut. What’s better than a doughnut? If I peeped an author in the midst of doughnut ecstasy, cream filling just oozing out the side of a fluffy pastry, I would probably be instantly converted. That book would suddenly become a must-read for me. I would feel kinship with the author. His or her writing must be as delicious as that confection he or she is sloppily and unabashedly scarfing in a moment frozen in time for all eternity.
Why doesn’t anyone ask me to be their publicist?