OK, exhale! The literary world, as well as the less literate crowd drawn to these semi-literate ramblings, all of you, you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to hear who had the best comments to make about the psychedelic photo I added to my ABOUT THE AUTHOR page.

Go ahead. Click on it. It’s still there. Enjoy one more laugh, one last laugh, before I make the photo — taken with a cellphone camera, then manipulated with Photo Shop — disappear.

A few weeks back, I asked for comments — Like it? Hate it? Don’t care? Get a face transplant? — and promised to pick a winning comment fpr special mention in “World of Wonders.”

Some of you — not to name names, but we’re talking about my writer friends Steve Hart and Christian Bauman — offered literary comments that sailed right over my head.

Steve’s offering:
You know how damned lifelike Pickman’s paintings were — how we all wondered where he got those faces.
Well — that paper wasn’t a photograph of any background, after all. What it showed was simply the monstrous being he was painting on that awful canvas. It was the model he was using — and its background was merely the wall of the cellar studio in minute detail. But by God, Eliot, it was a photograph from life!

H.P. Lovecraft, “Pickman’s Model”

Bauman got literary, too:
You have talked so often of going to the dogs—and, well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them.
George Orwell, “Down and Out in Paris and London”

Daughter Laura, who was raised to be honest and blunt, went for the honest and blunt approach:
The photo of you on your Web site is extremely scary. It makes you look old and sad.
She went on to kindly suggest that maybe her artist/photographer sister might be able to take a better photo of me.

Friend Lynn, who knew me in high school, offered this interesting insight:
Can’t say that I like it. It doesn’t define your finer qualities nor could you be identified by it in case of an emergency. That said it does shows a slightly out of focus wild side of you.
Lynn scores some points here, by suggesting that it might be impossible for any photo to capture my, ahem, “finer qualities,” and she also racks up big-time bonus points with the reference to my “wild side!”

Friend Adrienne went for the clever and funny but supportive approach:
An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.” -Andy Warhol
Need I say more? Ok. How about “I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.” -Andy Warhol Just kidding! You are looking a bit Warholesque in this photo.
However the most fitting in describing you would be: “I lived to write, and wrote to live.” -Samuel Rogers

Friend Keith Strunk, my co-conspirator in staging the annual Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, also went for tactful, but with a clear message, basically suggesting that the wacky Warholesque portrait doesn’t at all match my warm and friendly personality — and that the photo in question would not enable people to recognize me as they passed me on the street — not unless my head was blue and green and red and all psychedelic swirls.

Former workmate Chuck Pizar scores humor points by suggesting that photo makes me look like a combination of Max Headroom:

and Flattop from the “Dick Tracy” comics and movies.

But another former workmate, Laura Evans, wins induction into the World of Wonders Hall of Fame for this:
You know I never realized you bear a resemblance to The Hoff aka David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider and Baywatch fame.

And to prove her point Laura included this link:

The best response of all, I won’t describe in detail, except to say that the instructions for taking a true author photo of me included the suggestion that the shot be snapped with “a backdrop of nature – stark winter nature. (Bare trees with either gray or blue sky.)”

This thought was on my mind when son Matthew and I scaled a mountainside in southern Vermont a few weeks back, nearly killed ourselves on our way down the icy slopes, and he took this picture — on a cellphone camera, after our adventure, just to document that I had survived — scraped, sweaty, slightly out of breath (and, in case anyone’s getting the wrong idea, this description also applied to 20-year-old Matthew) — our wilderness adventure. So here’s something closer to the real me —

Is that really a photo of David Hasselhoff mountain-climbing in Vermont?


2 thoughts on “Portrait of the artist

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