Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Book-and-birthday headshots...

Here are some possible book jacket headshots taken by my daughter on my Thanksgiving (every seven years!) birthday last Thursday. She likes the unsmiling one best... What would you pick (given the basic materials of over-the-hill moi, of course)? It's the naked-face (bit of lipstick) and undyed-hair of me. You can see my flying eyebrow in all three. Editor John Wilson once told me that half my face was like that of the nice lady in line behind him at the post office, and the other half belonged to a poet or a murderer. Writers are murderers of a sort. But the look--that's the work of The Wayward Eyebrow.


That was a big-number birthday! To celebrate, we had the full complement of five, plus the every-surprising and wonderfully dangerous-to-breakables Campbell Higle (who crocheted me a giant chicken! Chickens loom large!) A grand Michael-made feast with many festive bottles of champagne was had, followed by much stellar pie. I leaped with great abandon from my I.F.-and-keto w.o.e. (gotta love those acronyms) onto Thanksgiving carbs and sugars.

Then we went off to New York the next morning--my husband, me, and our youngest, who managed to pick up a g.i. bug and retch for much of the first night. Nooo! We felt ill but not quite as ill as he did. So we didn't accomplish quite as much as planned. Still, we tromped all over Manhattan to stare at extravagant Christmas windows; wandered St. Patrick's for the length of a service (the contrast between the cathedral and the theatrical show lights and brightly-colored shopping-ecstasy windows at Saks Fifth Avenue next door is quite something); shopped the Christmas Market at Bryant Park (we were staying near 8th and 37th, so that was convenient for persons not feeling so well); and ducked out of the rain to eat at Arva (Arva Madison Estiatorio on 60th--quite good.) And nobody tossed his cookies while out, which was a kind of victory, though I expect it happens fairly frequently in the city. (Confession: I once threw up in some tiny, extraordinarily well-groomed bushes next to a bunch of talkative missionaries on a street corner in Tokyo, but nobody even noticed.)

On Sunday, my fellas were set to see the Patriots (the youngest being a fan) beat the Jets (the unfortunate Jets!) Meanwhile I walked down to Central Park and then the Met to stare at the marvelous Armenia show--I tend to be drawn magnetically to the Medieval galleries there, so it was wonderful to see a very different Medieval world. Then I paid a bit of obeisance to the Dutch Masters show (Vermeer! Rembrandt!) and visited the angel tree in the Medieval rooms, along with some of my favorite pieces there, before walking around the park and heading back (lugging some very big books because I find it hard to leave the Met without art books.) Walked to the hotel, stopped to pick up a few Christmas presents along the way, and then gathered some more gifts and wonderful hot chili-chocolate at the Christmas Market.

Later, it was decided that a glittering night promenade across the Brooklyn Bridge enticed--that and pizza at Mr. Patsy Grimaldi's restaurant afterward. It was called Patsy's when I was there last, back in 2000 (or thereabouts) but now it is Julianna's. But Mr. Grimaldi himself showed us to our seats, and the pizzas were just as splendid as before. Our youngest was riding in an umbrella stroller the last time we crossed the bridge and hunted for Patsy's; now he is 21.

What a lovely birthday it was...

42 comments:

  1. I like the one with the blue chicken in the background. Because chickens! You do look very mysterious and wise in the non-smiling one, though.

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    1. Well, yes, chickens!

      Mysterious and wise--hah! Alluring thought! Well, the link hasn't been up long enough to tell but facebook is going for the top one so far. First 15 minutes: six votes, with only one for the middle and bottom. Well, there is a split vote...

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  2. Yes, I like the first one (with blue chicken visible).

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  3. I like the one with you making eye contact and smiling which does happen to be the one with the photobombing blue chicken 😄

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  4. Ps its susanna aka Susangalique

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    1. Susanna! <3 I'm getting a lot of love for Blue Chicken on facebook! Haha! Hope all is stellar with you, these days...

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  5. Happy birthday! I like the last photo.

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    1. Thanks, Scott. You know, I'm finding it fascinating who likes the third one best. Some votes on facebook and twitter from writers and artists on that one. But lots more of them voted for the first. But it still seems to make sense to me, who votes for what... Probably meaningful in some odd way.

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    2. Marly Youmans most excellent good friend versus Marly Youmans serious working artist?

      Don't get me wrong, I like the blue chicken, too. But in the last photo, you give off that Necessary Aura of Authority! I would like to see a chart showing who votes for what; that would be an interesting study.

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    3. N. A. A.!

      I'll have to total them up... And see who likes what. #3 is coming on a little stronger now.

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    4. #3, in spite of my chicken passions. It proclaims, "Here. Look here. A serious writer is here."

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  6. I love the last photo. I like 'em all but the last one is just... real and in your face 'this is me'.
    Or rather, you, Marly!
    What a day you had! It was so good to be able to read of this!

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    1. I really had a 4-day birthday celebration... So fun!

      Interesting. The first won right out of the box but now people are starting to like the third...

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    2. The first and second are both very pretty.
      However... the third one catches one's attention. You look as interesting in this image as you are. I think that's going to entice people to delve further and read. It would me!

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    3. Aw, thanks! But maybe all the #3 supporters are just weird! Haha! Love to you....

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  7. I'm partial to the first one. However, if you ever write an emphatic political polemic, that third one will be the way to go.

    John Wilson's quip made me laugh out loud.

    And St. Patrick's is really remarkable. A couple years ago, I got into NYC with hours to kill before a friend's book-talk, so I spent the entire time at St. Patrick's. It's a cathedral that rewards the visitor who slows down and stays a while.

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    1. Hah, I will never write a political polemic. Why should a writer know more than anybody else about politics? (Or an actor, or a painter, or any of the others who blather about politics?)

      Yes, that was pretty apt! Some of us are just bent and asymmetrical, it seems.

      I had forgotten how beautiful it is. Though one misses the grime of time and rot of European cathedrals! (Although the hanging cardinals' hats are growing fairly decrepit....)

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    2. See? That third photo is the look you give people who invoke even the mere specter of a political polemic! (I, for one, am inviting neither the polemic nor the look...)

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    3. I shall not present you with either! You are safe!

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  8. I prefer the last. You look like you're about to straighten out this sorry world once and for all.

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    1. I am getting the most interesting comments on that one, and I have begun to think that the people who like that one (mostly on facebook but some here and twitter) ought to get together and be bosom buddies!

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  9. "Book jacket headshots" sounds like a phrase from a Mickey Spillane novel. Thank goodness the reality is quite quite different; a face latent with animation, arranged for the camera but only briefly, ready to resume life and the use of words in the ways I am gratefully familiar with. Thanks too for the trio of photos which provides a span of observation. And thanks yet again for details of the day (especially for VR's favourite: Vermeer with an exclamation mark. Did you know it's called a screamer in the trade? Which trade? My former trade.) Plus the inconspicuous throwing up; an aside I shall treasure even if I simultaneously ache over your discomfort.

    Honestly you deserve more than one birthday since we - your readers - would profit too.

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    1. A screamer! No, I didn't know. Though I do think of interspersed SHOUTS IN CAPS as the J. K. Rowling License.

      It was a good looong birthday....

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  10. I like the last photo. You look like the proprietor of a mysterious curio shop ;-)

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    1. Dave, #3 is coming on strong in pursuit of #1, which is what most seem to like. I have been thinking that all the choosers of #3 need to get together for a very odd party.

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  11. I like the first because it's straightforward. I'm not a fan of author portraits that are looking (sometimes gazing) into middle distance. Too self-conscious. The third is a great portrait, a personal one, I think. Reminds me of Mary at her most tenure-intimidating--a nice memory actually. My dream is at readings to ask about the mechanics of the author portrait. Pointers on how to ask?

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    1. Hahaha! Some publishers with deep pockets pay for pricey photographers to take photographs that are beautiful versions of the person...

      Mother likes the third best, of course! Then the first. Might use one for each forthcoming book... Which for which, I wonder?

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  12. And by the way, the eyeglasses are spectacular. BK, always on the lookout.

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    1. I went all the way to Glens Falls for those (and ate at a wonderful Thai restaurant downtown.) They are Cendrine O by Ziggy or Zig Eyewear--great Canadian designer! Those are carried at Mountain Something-or-Other in Waynesville...

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    2. And I have a pair of very cool sunglasses by her as well. They look simpler but there's a space and then sort of a metal halo around the dark lens.

      When I come down for Mother's birthday, let's all go for a mountain hike. She is good for 3.5 miles unless her leg is acting up.

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  13. Unsmiling is a bit forbidding, but the best.

    "Most faces are asymmetric ... cutting up photographs it is possible to make two very different portraits, one from the two left sides, the other from the two rights. If these be now shown to the subject and to his friends, invariably the one which the subject prefers will be the one his friends dislike."

    --W.H. Auden, The Dyer's Hand, section "Hic et Ille"

    Do you prefer the nice lady or the murderous poet?

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    1. My mother told me she likes the last one best but that I should have been smiling very slightly...

      Great quote--I have read "The Dyer's Hand," but I have a terrible memory. Or so I think. So the more problematic side is the truer self? Shiver!

      The bulk of my life has been spent writing and raising children, so I suppose that I needed each for different functions. Probably I was both when I was a professor...

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    2. Read The Dyer's Hand again, it's worth it. Bought it second-hand in the US and have dipped in ever since, ie, for 46 years. Great on the perils of translation and his love-affair with British whodunnits. Just checked ABE Books: Better World Books, Mishawaka, Indiana, has a copy at £2.94, the cost of a pack of tissues. You really can't do without it.

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    3. Yes, I willl--was thinking after George's comment that I ought to have a copy. Perhaps I once did, having moved so many times that books often stayed behind. Still have too many but often not the ones I want!

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  14. I'm loving the third (last) one most.

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    1. Thanks, Emily! I need to count up the votes here and on facebook and twitter plus notes... I think 3rd comes in second, but the most interesting comments are on that one...

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    2. So the most interesting people will the THOROUGHLY DISSATISFIED with your lovely winning photo?
      *tut tut*

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    3. Well, some of the comments are quite peculiar, hahaha!

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  15. Photo #1, by far. You look relaxed and natural. In the last photo, you look like you're about to chase me out of your house--I'd be skeered to read your book.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.