Novel Spaces decided me. Every member had to submit a head shot and I liked the new blog so much that I didn't even mind. A rectangle with a question mark or a beach scene absolutely would not do. I stuck a hazy cellphone self-portrait in my appointed slot and scheduled a photo shoot with my son. Just in time, too, as the very week the group blog went live Connie Ogle, books editor at the Miami Herald, contacted me about doing a small feature - and a photo was required. All that was left was for my son to appear with his beloved Canon, take a couple shots and I'd be set, right? The fact that I asked twice if he had a slimming lens should have forewarned me.
The morning of the shoot was rainy and grey. The rain eventually stopped and I proceeded to get ready. Predictably, my hair refused to cooperate. Sighing, I hooked it up in my everyday banana comb and gave it up as a lost job. I have all the right makeup but as I rarely touch it, hurriedly swiping on powder and lipstick most days, sudden expertise in such matters as concealer calculus and the Sine Law of eye-shadow application did not spring from my inept fingers. The biggest problem, though, was - the fat. There it was in the first round of photos, mocking me. The Death by Chocolate from Jardin de Tuilleries. The Baileys Irish Cream. The potato salad. All transformed into that f-word. It was hopeless.
My son protested. "But Mom, I love these! You look nice!"
"I look fat! No way. Let's try again." A less good-natured child would have rolled his eyes.
Round two began, this time in the backyard. My skirt was long and the grass was wet. My stomach horrified me despite my son's assurances that he would crop it out. I hated every shot. The problem was not the photography; it was me! The boy requested, then pleaded, and finally ordered: "Smile, Mom. You look like you're suffering. Let's get those dimples. Smile!"
I would have consigned all 125 shots to the recycle bin but my submission to the Herald was due the next morning. I agonized then chose the one that now appears in the sidebar of Novel Spaces, the one in which I had actually managed a half-smile. Get used to it, folks, because it'll be a long while before I subject myself to that particular form of mortification again.