Monday, June 19, 2006

Beauty and the PR Beast

While perusing the digital photos that my husband took at my first big book signing, I was distressed to see that I looked rather--pudgy, curvaceous, generously endowed, fluffy--and other gentle euphemisms for fat. How in the world had this happened? I wondered. Hadn't I, once upon a time, been a svelte young woman? Then it dawned on me: I'd basically been sitting at a computer for years. Years of writing novels in my free time, making handouts in my work time. And then, as a break from sitting at the computer? Sitting in a chair, reading. The variety was not in my physical action, but in what I read. I read books for work; I read articles and wrote papers for night school; I stole occasional blissful hours for recreational reading. While I sat at the computer or in my big stuffed chair, I often snacked on whatever I craved. This usually meant something made with chocolate or butter, or sometimes chocolate and butter. At the very least I should have expected to develop gout, not to mention additional poundage.

The other problem that I faced, as a fiction writer, was that I had a totally fictional picture of myself, one that was securely rooted in 1985 or thereabouts, back when I had a killer body. In my mind, I was a veritable Catherine Zeta Jones of the keyboard, ever lovely and graceful as I munched my chocolatey butter snack and dreamed up mysterious scenarios for my characters. So naturally, when forced to look at a picture of me in my new signing jacket (which was sized Grande, a beautiful Spanish way of saying Extra Large), it was no wonder that I said, "Who the heck is that?"

So what does one do? I pledged to join Curves so that future book jackets wouldn't make me look like such an example of American excess. I vowed to get up and walk in between creative endeavors at the keyboard (including my newest pleasure--blogging). But what I'm really fighting here is a lifetime of indolence which has become second nature. Perhaps becoming a writer was my unconscious escape from jogging. But the pendulum always swings back. I need to brush up my public image, which means I have to start jogging anyway, and hope that jogging the bod will also jog some new ideas out of my brain, and I will have finally achieved harmony of mind and Grande body.

10 comments:

Filekeeper said...

I had the same thing happen to me recently. Man have I caught up with myself....4o+ years old and bam...all of the behind the desk work has left me with alot of behind the behind work! Best of luck to you be well a nd do well.! God bless!

Annette said...

Actually, I think you look great. But I know what you mean. I'm now struggling with those extra pounds, too. I heard someone say they put on ten pounds per book. Egads! Did I mention, I'm shopping the flea markets for a used treadmill???

From a fellow MMMa'er

Annette said...

Ooops, that was supposted to be "from a fellow MMA'er."

Pauline B Jones said...

I turned 50 last year and I just don't care anymore. I look around and I see the man not worrying about image or looking for treadmills. I say, celebrate what you've become. We all earned it the hard way: living our lives. :-)

Pauline B Jones said...

Now its my turn for an opps. The MEN not worrying. Oh well, its early....

Bill Cameron said...

I am all too aware of the rounding of the decades, though I confess that I don't think I ever had a hot bod, even back in the 80s! I think you look great, and like you're having a great time up there! That's the most important thing, if you ask me!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hey Julia - fantastic blog! You give me hope - I'm going to have to contact the people you mentioned to help me with things like those pesky links on the side. HTML gives me hives.

And, oh, man, this topic. It is so unnerving that my book isn't even out yet and everywhere I go now people are snapping photos, which I truly have a phobia about. I don't mind being filmed, but the still photos? My greatest nightmare is smiling into the camera.

I'm a dance addict and start climbing the walls at home if I don't dance or work out regularly, so that helps with the body image deal. But I can't eat anything any more if I don't want to gain weight. I mean, nothing. Cereal, sandwich, soup and salad - that's about it. And gallons of Diet Coke. It is SO UNFAIR that it's not enough writers to create a product - we have to BE a product.

But you have a beautiful, radiant energy that comes across in your photos. I think that's what people are looking for more than anything.

Alex (fellow MMAer)

Julia Buckley said...

Well, thank you to all of you--you make me feel much better. Annette, let me know if you find that used treadmill. Of course, I could see myself buying one and then just letting it gather dust and take up space, while I sit at the computer!

And you're so right, Pauline, there's definitely a double standard. And Bill, I love the term "rounding of the decades."

Alexandra, but that's wonderful that people are snapping photos! The only person taking mine is my husband, and that's because I tell him to. :) So you are obviously getting some terrific PR! And I too am a Diet Coke addict. And thank you for the radiant energy description. I'll take that with me as I run my errands.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I think you look great. I'm not a skinny minny myself, and you have style, girl!

Julia Buckley said...

Gee, thanks. I actually only posted the picture to prove I had a booksigning, but the flattery is always welcome. :)