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.