Hiding and up to no good? Or just not inclined to post selfies?

Today seems to be my day for reblogging/posting my thoughts about things I’ve read on blogs I follow lately.  Not just the blogs themselves, but also what other people have to say about them.

The other day, Jay Dee Archer at I Read Encyclopedias for Fun had a post titled “Marketing Myself.”  He talked about how authors have to sell themselves along with their books.  Then he talked about author photos and asked his readers if they thought such photos are important.

My comment on this:

I HOPE they’re not important, because I would rather not ever have my photo on a book’s dust jacket (or anywhere else). I have no problem with showing people my twin’s author photo and telling them, “I look like him, but with longer hair and no goatee,” but I don’t want them to see a photo of me. (Yes, I know that’s weird.)

I don’t know if such photos are important, though, or to what extent if they are. Maybe readers just want proof that their favorite author is human and not a cabbage or something.

Another person said that, for her as a reader, an author photo is important because otherwise she wonders what the author is hiding, and why.  It’s about “transparency and relatability,” she said.

So… Yeah.  What is Weaver hiding, and why?

(Much thanks, by the way — and no, I’m not being sarcastic, I really mean this — to the person who made that comment.  It will help me later today when I’m working on “that novel.”)

I will attempt to explain this as bluntly as I am able to at this time:  I have PTSD and a physical disability.  I don’t go out in public much — as little as possible, in fact.  The only human beings with whom I have regular face-to-face interaction are the two with whom I live.  I am, quite honestly, uncomfortable — afraid, even — when I must interact with anyone else in person.  It doesn’t make sense, and saying so makes me look like even more of a loser than I am, but it’s the truth.  I am comfortable with people looking at the words I write — want them to look at those words — but I don’t want them looking at meEver.  Several years ago, I had to make a choice:  never be a published writer, or be a writer but never make public appearances or even share my own photo on the internet.  I made my choice.

I know that my lack of an author photo makes me less relatable, but I’m not particularly relatable anyway.  Maybe you guessed that from my occasional jokes about how much fun it is to be a statistical anomaly.  *shakes head*

Look, kids, I’ve said before that it’s no secret what I look like, more or less.  I have an identical twin, and his author photo is online.  I’ve even posted a link to it.  (I do think he needs a new author photo, perhaps a more candid one of him doing ‘archaeologist in action’ stuff.  Maybe he can get a good photo while he’s working as crew chief at that one dig this summer.)  Same face, longer hair (mine is finally growing back to its proper length), no goatee, no glasses.  On the rare occasions when I’m out of the house, I may or may not be using a cane to walk.  I don’t mind people knowing what I look like, but… please don’t assume that anyone who doesn’t post goddamn selfies all over the internet could be some kind of dangerous aberrant, okay?

(As you may have guessed, this isn’t really all about Jay Dee’s post, or even the comments made on it.  Sometimes I read something and it sets off a train of thought that is only tangentially related to the original topic.)

 nooneknows copy





About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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3 Responses to Hiding and up to no good? Or just not inclined to post selfies?

  1. I was drawn into this post because I’ve never heard another person describe what I call “photo phobia”.

    In my case, not just a fear of the photograph but also of having the photograph seen.

    I have a diagnosis of complex PTSD.

    I have tried posting pictures of myself to my Flickr stream but they come down within a day. The cruel explanation is that I don’t want people to know how old I am but I’m proud of my age and of my status as a survivor.

    The most reasonable explanation that I can think of is that one of the symptoms of the CPTSD is the inability to truly “see’ myself in the mirror as well as an inability to describe my appearance.

    When I see pictures of myself I don’t completely recognize the face.

    The cognitive dissonance of intellectually knowing that the picture of me and the inability to know that the picture is of me on an emotional level causes extreme anxiety.

    Thank you for posting this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jay Dee says:

    Thanks for writing about this. To be honest, I was at a point when I didn’t want my picture anywhere at all, and I was always very self-conscious of how I looked because I have a job where I talk to many people. My fears were unfounded, as it seems people in Japan don’t judge others’ appearance much. I have psoriasis, and I get it on my forehead, which is quite visible. I’ve had people ask me if I had allergies, but I politely explain what it is, and they say no more. But I’ve come to accept it and don’t even pay much attention to it anymore. Seems no one here does.

    In Canada, though, i have to wonder. People tend to be more “honest” and hurtful in a more open society.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. milliethom says:

    I’ve known a few people who hate having their photos taken, for the very reasons described by yourself, Thomas, and other commenters above. Unfortunately, I’m amongst them. I hate seening myself and thinking how awful I look. Is it vanity, or what? With me, it’s simply that I’m older than I still believe myself to be. I look at photos and deny that I look that old! My daughter (who can’t keep her camera away) says I pull a face like an alien when I pose for photos, and she’s probably right. But I’m going to have to put a ‘proper’ photo on WordPress soon. One follower described me as ‘the mysterious lady with the straw hat’, so perhaps I should just reveal my face to the world. Oh, the trauma of that . . .! I loved your post, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

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