Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Shame and Shamelessness


cover(sounds like the title of the book Jane Austen never got around to writing …)

Anyway! I said I had some more Shameless Self-Promotion(TM) to do and here it is … I am a cover girl!!! Admittedly it is not quite the fame-and-glory level of being on the cover of the Newfoundland Herald — but I have made to the cover of the Canadian Adventist Messenger.

This all came about when I was contacted by my good internet friend Lori (who is married to my real-life friend Scott, but for me Lori exists only as a text-based life form, beating me at Word Twist and Scrabble on Facebook, and leaving witty comments on my blog).  She writes for the Messenger, which is the national magazine for the SDA church in Canada, and asked if she could interview me for a profile.

I didn’t hesitate. I never hesitate when asked if anyone can interview me. I love to talk, and I love to talk about my writing, and I love to talk about myself.  No shame there whatsoever.  I guess the fact that I am a writer, and a blogger, already predisposes me to enjoy talking, but I know there are some writers who are shy and hate interviews.  Not me.  Just start asking the questions and I WILL ROLL.

Then, near the end of a happy, chatty half-hour phone conversation, Lori mentioned that they’d like some pictures to use with the article — PICTURES OF ME — and I went into a sort of downward spiral of mental decline from which it took me weeks to recover.

See my words in print? Sure! Be interviewed on radio or even TV? No problem! Ramble on for hours on my views about everything under the sun? Absolutely!!

Have PICTURES OF ME printed in colour, in a national magazine that will wind up in people’s mailboxes? Oh no no no no no.

I have HUGE issues about pictures.  Now, I’m not one of those people who puts her hand over her face and refuses to be photographed.  I will allow my picture to be taken; I’ll sometimes even mug and ham it up a bit for the camera.  I have pictures of myself posted here on my blog, and on Facebook and Flickr. But pictures on the web seem somehow … ephemeral, compared to pictures in a magazine. 

I think in forty-three years and tons of rolls of film (and many more digital pics since they got invented) I have seen maybe five pictures of myself I was totally happy with.  At least three of those were taken before I got glasses and braces in Grade Six.  Shown any picture of myself, I can critique my hair, my clothes, my facial expression, almost anything about myself.  It’s funny because I rarely give a thought to what I actually look like during the day when I’m out interacting with the world, but freeze the moment in a snapshot and all my insecurities come crawling out of the woodwork.

(Strangely, video images of myself, like the TV interview posted below, don’t bother me.  I think it’s because I’m allowed to move around and talk, which distracts people from actually staring at me. The staring is the problem. Or maybe it’s stillness, since in real life I’m rarely still and almost never quiet, so a still, silent picture looks unnatural).

Things got even worse when Lori told me that the editor, Crystal (also an internet presence in my life), wanted to use the article as a cover piece.  A picture of me on the COVER? Of a MAGAZINE??? Oh I am SO not a cover girl!!!

Lori kindly suggested it didn’t have to be a close-up — we could do a nice  Newfoudland scene shot, for example, that just happened to contain me in it somewhere.  And that … after one freezing photo November morning photo session, 40 shots, numerous technical difficulties with the download, further mental health difficulties when I actually saw myself in the pictures, a huge effort at moral support from the Strident Women who talked me down from my metaphorical water tower, a second freezing photo shoot the next day, another 30 shots … that was how we came up with the beautiful picture of Coley’s Point beach, taken by Jennifer, with discreet little me sitting on a rock down in the corner, trying to hide my nails which I’d painted blue in a moment of the madness the night before, and trying not to look like I was freezing to death.

I cannot begin to tell you the level of analysis I have put into this picture, and into the two they used inside the magazine (there were numerous other photo shoots, each one accompanied by a mini-mental-breakdown, to provide the Messenger with some casual snaps of me doing “everyday” things.)  I could give you a list, right now, without even thinking, of twelve things I hate about these pictures, and it’s all about me being crazy and I tell you, there is nothing like being profiled in a magazine to make all your crazy come screaming out of your subconscious mind into the light of day.

But it’s over now.  I have  no qualms about the article, which Lori did a fine job of writing, and if I step back and pretend the whole thing is about someone else I can acknowledge that the pictures are fine too (of course, if they were of someone else I would only glance at them for 15 seconds, which is all anyone else is going to spend looking at my pictures, which is why this level of relentless self-analysis is ridiculous. But that doesn’t make it go away).

How Oprah does it every month, I’ll never know.  I’d be a nervous wreck.  So don’t look for “T” magazine to hit the newsstands anytime soon.  I’d have no trouble coming up with stuff to fill the pages, but the cover shoots would kill me.


14 thoughts on “Shame and Shamelessness

  1. You go, cover girl.

    I will look forward to receiving the magazine in our office.


  2. I just read the article today. I noticed the cover and a picture inside that matches the one at the top of your blog. But I didn’t notice any others. This may be because I was trying to read it while eating lunch at work, and trying to finish it before anyone else bothered me. My point is, even your FRIEND didn’t notice the pictures that made you so crazy (but you can bet I will tomorrow when I have access to the magazine again!).

    Admittedly, I say this all to make you feel even more crazy. Because in the words of Dionne Warwick, That’s What Friends Are For!

    On another note, I thought Lori did a fantastic job with the article. She moved seamlessly between her own thoughts and direct quotes from you, and it worked. I remember her trying to write this and come up with a way to organize all the information and I think she managed it brilliantly.

    I can’t wait to see the other pictures tomorrow now!

  3. Lori did do a really good job. You can see the other pictures, Jamie, if you click the article link in the blog post above and “page” through the magazine. I’ll tell you one thing on my list of twelve: the blog post picture bothers me because when Jason and I set it up originally, the plan was for it to appear as a blog header — just that one long shelf of books behind my head. So I set that shelf up with the books I wanted in the picture and just randomly threw piles of other books on the top shelf, which wasn’t in the picture, then cropped it. When Lori asked me to send the original of the blog header pic because Crystal wanted to use it, I sent it, never for ONE MINUTE thinking they would use the WHOLE picture — showing the top shelf with the books strewn all over it, and the messy floor area below my bookshelves. So I guess it’s not just my appearance but also my house I’m paranoid about (fearing that Adventists all over Canada now think I have disorganized bookshelves … oh the horror).

    Nathan, thanks for the encouragement too. Again, anyone who wants to look at the article but doesn’t have access to the Messenger, you can read the article from the link here in the blog post (where it says “Canadian Adventist Messenger”).

  4. Oh, my dear, I’m laughing out loud but also so terribly sorry for your pain. I suspect it was very good for you, though. What was it you just said – what doesn’t kill me makes me stranger?

  5. I’m so excited to see my beach! Can we Americans read the article somewhere?

  6. Does the “Canadian Adventist Messenger” link I put in the post not work when you click it? It’s supposed to take you directly to the online version of the magazine … try this link http://www.sdacc.org/index.php?Section=2 and then click on “Canadian Adventist Messenger” and then on the magazine cover from there.

    Uppington, you’re right … what doesn’t kill me makes me stranger.

  7. I so want to see your blue toenails!!! As a not-so die-cast Adventist, things like that make me chuckle 🙂 And the pictures are just lovely. I think it’s insightful that you don’t like the ‘stillness’ of photos – you are very animated in real life so I can understand why this bugs you. I think I’d be the reverse. I don’t mind still photos, but seeing myself on TV or video would make me cringe! I have these facial expressions that I have no idea I’m doing!!!

    So, you can now cross cover-girl off your ‘to-do’ list. Good for you!

  8. Easy, breezy, beautiful – Cover Girl! 🙂

    “What doesn’t kill me makes me stranger!!” LOL…that’s priceless!

  9. Karen, it was my fingernails that were blue … there is no possibility, on a Newfoundland beach in November, that anyone could ever or would ever have seen my toenails, so I wouldn’t have needed to hide them!!

  10. really loved the cover photo. you look great!:) and warm in that turtle neck… did print out a copy for yourself??

  11. Oh Trudy! I have laughed, smiled, blushed and felt sort of teary. All in the process of reading your SSP and the comments.

    Thank you again for putting yourself “out there” — on the rock, by the shore, on the phone, in print and on the web! You were so EASY to write about! I hope that this helps people (Adventists and non alike) to get to know you and your writing more.

    And thanks for the wonderful comments — if you were feeling all that craziness. Imagine mine was about the same — possibly more, as I am not as accomplished as you are at writing for the public sphere!

  12. You look great, Trudy! In all the pictures. And if we had seen the blue fingernails? We’d have just assumed it was that cold on the beach.

  13. I just read this article. As a semi-writer myself (someone who used to write creatively a lot more and now finds it difficult to get out of the news-writing-rut my job requires), you really inspired me to keep at it. The photos were great too. I love the one with you peeking over the book =p I’m glad I found out about you and hope to visit your blog often!

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