October 13, 2005

Author's Photo

I’m looking at the photo in the back of the book I just bought. I want it to tell me more than the book can. I’m looking for the knowledge the author can’t put into words, the being that her sentences can only point to. This author is a woman in her sixties who, with cropped hair and rimless glasses, is cooperating with Time in removing sexuality from her persona: stripping off that layer. The furrows down her narrow cheeks, the brooding upturn of her long thin lips, tell me that she knows more than I do. There will be statements in the book that will put me in my place, illuminating the misguided things I’ve been doing all these years. This book will make me consider who I am, and wish I were otherwise. The book’s message is that I must accept myself and yet continually re-create myself. The photo tells me I probably can’t do that as well as she has done.

The book wisely makes no promises, but offers many opportunities, many tools. The photo tells me the author has come far from where she started. She has acquired confidence and penetration, generosity and patience, resilience and foresight and forgivingness and serenity. She looks irremediably unhappy.