I Totally Need One Of Those Pencil-Drawn Believer-Style Author Pics
When I first start writing a piece, I wonder what subway train I’ll be riding when I run into someone reading it in The Believer. Boy, that’ll be awkward, mostly because the person reading it probably won’t recognize me due to the artistic representation that is my pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic. I’ll have to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Didn’t really get my best side, did they?” Then I’ll stand there with that 5 under 35 look that says, You know my pencil face, you just haven’t put two-and-two together yet.
“You’re almost fifty,” my wife said to me after I got my friend Brad to draw my new profile pic. “Not when I’m drawn in pencil and wearing a hipster tee,” I said holding up my iPad so she could see the JPEG Brad sent me. “I can draw better than that,” she said. Which is totally untrue because Brad draws the most kick-ass pictures of his cat Noodles. The day I asked him to draw my pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic, Brad and I were in his basement smoking pot and watching Dance Attack. “I’m on it Chief,” he said, and went to find a pencil. He’s that kind of guy. A real fan of my writing.
“Even if I’m not in The Believer yet,” I told my wife, “the pic will help ramp up the ol’ social media presence.” Which is true because the second I posted Brad’s pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic on my Facebook, this dude from Brooklyn PM’d me asking which hipster literary journal I’d been in.
The hard part is living up to the expectations the picture leaves with my readers. I published an essay in Brad’s new online literary magazine (illuminatibro.wordpress.com) and a bunch of people emailed saying they were expecting something a little more Dave Eggers. They said that based on my pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic they thought the voice felt a little “collegiate.” Which was great because I’ve always wanted to get my MFA. Someone posted a comment that said, Does this guy even have a point?! To which Brad responded, “We’re not about points here, Hombre. We’re about truth… and gnarly book reviews.”
Another advantage to having your very own pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic? No quotation marks. It is understood that we writers with pencil-drawn profiles have grown tired of quotation marks, their curved daggers slicing through the edges of our cliché-free dialogue like hot knives through butter. “I can’t tell who’s talking,” my wife told me the other day after letting her read the final draft of a piece I’m working on. I held up Brad’s JPEG again, “Talk to the face,” I said.
I’ve printed out a copy of my pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic and taped it to the wall above my computer. When I’m in the middle of a particularly long paragraph that feels like it could use a line break, I look at my penciled likeness, its expertly-rendered glasses, the eyes that seem to suggest, It’s so goddamn easy to write this shit, and I keep going indent-free for at least another six pages.
And the best part about my new author pic? My upcoming book. It’s a collection of two hundred and fifty of my best essays, rants, and musings. There’s even the one about that time I spent a week in an adirondack chair reminiscing about my father. Brad’s the publisher, says that based on the success of my pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic, a literary press named after his pet turtle feels like a rad place to dump a little coin.
“Could use a little help over here with this diaper,” my wife said to me the other day after I mentioned the good news about Turkules Press. The baby was screaming and the twins wanted cereal, but I was unfazed. I blew a kiss toward my pencil-drawn Believer-style author pic, and let the coming fame wash over me.