Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Author Pics, Pt. II

It didn’t hurt that she took a good picture. A beautiful woman, tall and thin, her face incised with eloquent suffering, peering at the camera with cold, unwavering eyes, she looked as if her friend Giacometti had fashioned her out of skin and bones.

That's what they should have said. Instead, the description of Dana Goodyear's author pic reads:

I just think Dana Goodyear's pretty.

The first description above is actually from Ben Kunkel's excellent essay on Beckett in the New Yorker. I guess I just wanted to revisit the author pic problem because I felt bad for belittling the prettiness of DG and Joyce Carol Oates. But my point was that a male author's wrinkles become the incisions of eloquent suffering, rather than unsightly nose-to-mouth lines.

A simple point, but I'm a simple man.

This, by the way, was the Beckett portrait in question:

You can imagine how a similar portrait of a woman would be described. "Annie Proulx has a rugged, Janet Reno quality, unafraid to be unpretty. But she's such a good writer."

Anyhow, in that review, BK quotes Beckett at length and actually succeeded in putting "Molloy," a novel I had long avoided, on my must-read list:

She went by the peaceful name of Ruth, I think, but I can’t say for certain. Perhaps the name was Edith. She had a hole between her legs, oh not the bunghole I had always imagined, but a slit, and in this I put, or rather she put, my so-called virile member, not without difficulty, and I toiled and moiled until I discharged or gave up trying or was begged by her to stop. A mug’s game in my opinion and tiring on top of that, in the long run. But I lent myself to it with a good enough grace, knowing it was love, for she had told me so. She bent over the couch, because of her rheumatism, and in I went from behind. It was the only position she could bear, because of her lumbago. It seemed all right to me, for I had seen dogs, and I was astonished when she confided that you could go about it differently. I wonder what she meant exactly. Perhaps after all she put me in her rectum. A matter of complete indifference to me, I needn’t tell you. But is it true love, in the rectum? That’s what bothers me sometimes. Have I never known true love, after all? She too was an eminently flat woman and she moved with short stiff steps, leaning on an ebony stick. Perhaps she too was a man, yet another of them. But in that case surely our testicles would have collided, while we writhed. Perhaps she held hers tight in her hand, on purpose to avoid it.


  • At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Antid Oto said…

    Molloy is hilarious. I don't know why you thought you should avoid it.

  • At 1:56 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I had no idea is was funny (and bawdy, which always helps). I remember you recommending it to me in the 90s, but I thought it would be ponderous and dull like so much experimental fiction is.

  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger Emma B said…

    Yeah, hoestly, I trouble getting through it my self, although there was one part about sucking on pebbles and another part about farting that were pretty good. Isn't that the book where Beckett askes "But is truly love, in the rectum?"
    You tell me. I might have the quote a little off anyway.

  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    haha i quoted that bit in my post, and in fact almost used it as the title of the post, though i thought if dana goodyear ever googled herself she might be offended to discover her photo under the headline "But is it true love, in the rectum?"

  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger Mrs. Haze said…

    speaking of vain male authors, has anyone noticed Paul Auster? Now that's a man who who took one good photo and has been recycling it for twenty-five years. I remember that I tipped a friend to that fact, before she braved a blizzard to see him read because he "looked so dreamy." She never made it in the end.
    Honestly, even Truman Capote would never dare...

  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    heh well, i can relate. i only have one photograph of myself that i really like, and it was taken 3 1/2 years ago. and yes, it will be my author pic in perpetuity.

    and what of AM Homes, who according to a friend of yours, Haze, is the beneficiary of the talents of a certain master of chiaroscuro.

  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    and no, this is not the pic of myself that i really like (though emma b's talents as a portraitist are legendary).

    the one i love is of my at my favorite london nightclub, drunk with lustiness.

  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    a lot of typos in my replies today. i'm rushing to finish something i have to write for, you know, money.

  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    rather than mere glory

  • At 5:34 PM, Blogger Mrs. Haze said…

    At least AM Homes got a new photo of herself done for This Book Will Save Your Life -- (Hence, the chiaroscoro master's talents came in handy). Previous to that, I think I might have mentioned, Homes went the Auster route -- same photo of her at 25.
    Btw, that friend was the same one I talked out of going to see Auster...
    Solomon, I have faith in you. By the time you reach an extremely handsome, not losing your hair 40, you will want to advertise it.

  • At 5:35 PM, Blogger Mrs. Haze said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5:37 PM, Blogger Mrs. Haze said…

    Solomon, please tell me that your typos did not include "chiaroscuro," which I faithfully copied from your comment.

  • At 2:04 AM, Blogger Emma B said…

    Oh, Solomon, my craptastic dedication to reading have finally been revealed.... it's true I didn't read that Beckett quote at first, but now that I have been humbled, I went back, read it and sorta feel like maybe I should give the ol' bugger Malloy another chance, so to speak. Whaddya think? Maybe we could read it at the smae time and then chat?

  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Yeah, let's do Malloy! A blog group reading? Anybody else on board?

    Haze, I am indeed crossing my fingers that by age 40 my style will have reached its final destination -- Dickie Greenleaf by way of Fair Haven Heights -- and that yes, I will proudly flaunt my debonair roue looks.

    But thank god I'm not a woman, because then I'd just be compared to Janet Reno.


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