Monday, May 15, 2023

Fifteen Years of Discarded Marked by a Cautionary Tale

Cover by James Conant, RIP.

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of Gloria Mindock and ,Červená Barva Press announcing the release of my first official chapbook. Discarded: Poems for My Apartments.  Do you know it's available to purchase today? I'm grateful that Gloria still has my collection available on her Lost Bookshelf website. I might even purchase copies of it for an exclusive event coming up.

It also marks the fifteenth anniversary of this wretched author photo.
Dear lord...

The photo was taken by my Mom, but we're not blaming her. Certainly not so soon after Mother's Day! 

When this photo was taken, it was in January 2008, I was visiting my Mom. It was no more than a month after my father died. My manuscript was accepted in 2006, but even over a year later most digital photos I had of myself at the time were from the flip phone era. My Mom had a newly purchased digital camera and barely used it. She never really took photographs ever, so I lucked out with her strange purchase. I asked is she could take a photo of  me for my book.

This wasn't the best timing for a lot of reasons. Again, my Dad died weeks before Christmas. What you see above was my best attempt at a smile. My hair probably hadn't been cut since before the holidays kicked in, and I was wearing clothes that barely fit and were only purchased because they came cheap from the canteen store where I worked. 

But for some reason, I looked at the picture Mom took and said, Yep, that's me now. I thought the picture encapsulated how I was feeling perfectly. That should not have been my only barometer. 

I thought I was making good decisions. So much so that I posted the picture on Facebook and announced that this was going to be my author photo for the chapbook.

A brutally honest friend commented something along the lines of, "God, no! Not that one!"

I deleted the comment. 

The photo was published, along with the rest of the book, fifteen years ago yesterday. The photo was printed small, which somehow made my face look worse at the time.

I guess the moral of the tale is wait until you're in a good mood to be photographed. If you're miserable and/or melancholy, you're probably not as good an actor as you need to be to pull off happy. Or even simple somber.

I was thinking about how to tear into this picture more, but I'm starting to like it. Hey, at least I'm fifteen years younger in it.

Not much of a story this time. That's because I'm waiting to spill dirt when year twenty hits. The tenth anniversary post was more interesting.

Thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of Discarded: Poems for My Apartments at the time it was released. If you never have, please consider supporting Gloria and buy a couple of books from her via the above link.

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