Sunday, August 09, 2009

Life Is Strange, and Then You Die

Ok, I apologize for the weird blog title, but that's a bit how I feel today.

I woke up this morning to a front page article in the Sunday paper about a big, multi-author booksigning I attended recently, where I and my fellow authors were interviewed for the local newspaper (see post below). While the article itself was all about the fact that book sales of the type I write are booming, and that authors like me are not only normal people, but can make a decent living at what we do, the lead-in photo was of a plus, plus-size woman in a muu-muu holding a bunch of books and wad of cash.

I apologize, anonymous woman in the photo, for what I'm about to say, but this was a plus-size tactic designed to not only draw the eye, but to denigrate what I do for a living by implying that the only people who read what I write are overweight, lonely, and can't "get any" any other way except reading about it. And that, quite frankly, troubles me.

I could go off on a rant about the statistics (which quite frankly, are impressive). I could point out that I am neither overweight, nor wear a muu-muu (which if I did, would have nothing to do with my writing ability, or my taste in reading material. Oh, and I get plenty, thank you very much, as do many others like me who value love and genuine feeling over the occasional, meaningless sexual hook-up.) I could also point out of that if the photo were of, say... Angelina Jolie... holding a bunch of books and a wad of cash, the tone of the article would be competely different even though the words written were exactly the same.

I'm a writer. I know the value of a well-placed word or photograph, and that photograph ruined the whole point of the article. It made what would have been a "high", into a "low".

And then there was the afternoon, which fell along the same lines. I got together with an old friend from high school, who I was thrilled to hear from. We had a wonderful time catching up about our families and our life experiences, who we'd kept up with and who we hadn't, and the years rolled away as though they'd never been.

Except that during the course of our conversation, I learned that all these years, my friend had been operating under a major misconception about me. An unflattering misconception, that I'd been completely unaware of. Worse yet, one of those misconceptions that not only had I been unable to defend, but even today - when I did - never goes away, because hey... once that seed's been planted, it's kind of hard to uproot.

Kind of like the misconception that romance is only for plus-sized women in muu-muus who can't "get any" any other way.

At any rate, I don't mean to imply that I had anything other than a wonderful time with my friend, because I did. Eye-opening, a little bit "WTF?" but wonderful. :-) She deserves an award for contacting me after all this time given the fact she was operating under such a major misconception, and my hat's off to her.

The article in the newspaper? Not so much.

1 comment: said...

when the conference was in atlanta, i live 2 hours away, i wassssssssssssssss makin sure to meetauthors, books autorphed, meet the women i talkde to online, but the fella i live with told me, those authors dont want a bunch of fat women showin up, which at the time, i was only like 25 poounds over weit for my heit

i had done loaded backpacks with books .
so i minded as i was suppose to

so i iddnt take off to atlanta and he won as usual

i really hate myself for that too