Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Hairy Situation - Julie L Cannon
One night I was boiling a pair of tweezers my husband brought home to me from his auto restoration shop. He laughed at my little pot of water bubbling on the stove the same way he had laughed at my chin hair.
"What?" I defended myself. "How do I know what you’ve been doing with these things!"
"Better watch out," he said, grinning, "pull that chin hair and you just might unravel something. It could be the only thing holding up your waddle!"
Oh, the mortification of it all. This age, 45, is tough enough without all the physiological changes. But it’s along about this time that a woman’s skin says goodbye to its dewy tautness and she begins to sprout hairs in very weird places. Products like tweezers and Jolene cream bleach become mainstays in the medicine cabinet.
I had discovered my tweezers were missing several days earlier when I stood in a wide ray of glaring and unkind sunlight, staring really hard in the bathroom mirror at myself because it was time for...a book tour!
Can anyone tell me a more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde career? While I am writing my novels, I’m literally a hermit. Day after day I crawl out of bed, into my sweats and plunk down at my keyboard. Months go by with the barest minimum of human interaction. There is no interaction with a razor, a tweezers, an exfoliator, or a bleaching wand. The hairs are allowed Samson-like free reign as I focus all my energies into telling a story.
Then one afternoon, the phone rings. "Julie?" my publicist says in her cheerful New York accent, "get your calendar!" Enthusiastically she names the magazine and newspaper photographers who are coming to capture my image, the television stages I’m lined up to grace, and the innumerable auditoriums full of people I’ll be speaking to.
On January 2nd The Romance Readers’ Book Club was officially released and it was time, if I did not wish to shame Penguin or take a sharp slap to my own pride to begin to pluck.
You’d think I’d be an old-hand at this now, after seven years and four books, and in many ways I am. Truth be told I love to crawl out from underneath my ‘writing rock’, blinking at the bright lights as my eyes adjust and I begin to interact with readers. It feels kind of like when you’ve been on a week-long backpacking trip and you come home all covered with dirt and sweat to jump and soak in a fragrant bubble bath. It’s truly one of the most absolutely wonderful and fun parts of this whole business.
But that said, I have to confess it’s also astounding, mortifying, to see what I’ve become during the creation of a certain novel.
I found, as I had suspected, that during the writing of The Romance Readers’ Book Club I had morphed into a backwoods hick! The hairs had had themselves a heyday.
"We’re going to need an author photo," Don O’Briant said to me late one afternoon.
"Why certainly!" I replied in a positive tone, despite how my heart was palpitating.
Don was writing an article on me ( it came out last Sunday) for the Arts & Books section of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. Now that is seen by a lot of people and a lot of them haven’t seen me since college days. I did not want to scare them too bad. I fluffed and plucked and pruned and polished, and the beautiful thing about a photograph is you can take a whole slew of them, choose the best one of those, and then touch that up.
But now, this coming weekend, I’m going to be face-to-face with my readers at five separate events: a literary brunch, a book club, two bookstores, and then, as the crowning finale of my very public weekend, on Sunday, January 13th, at 8:00 p.m. I’ll be appearing on St. John Flynn’s Cover-to-Cover Show on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The last couple of times I did Cover-to-Cover, it was only audio. So, yes, there was my hickish (actually, I prefer the word drawling) accent blaring out for all the world to hear, but the rest of my unglamorous personage was not observable. However, now I have been informed that Cover-to-Cover is filmed as well. Chin hairs I can manage, but waddles? Hmm........
Don’t you think a dark turtleneck will look literary?

You can read my AJC interview and see how well I cleaned up and concealed.

You can listen to me live Sunday January 13th at 8pm on Cover to Cover with St John Flynn. If you don’t get his show on your local GPB radio station, you can listen over the internet by going HERE and clicking on the Listen Now button.

Over next the few weeks I will be appearing at several events around Atlanta and north Georgia, in Greenville, SC and in Asheville, NC. If you’re interested in visiting with me, check my SCHEDULE to see if I'll be in your area.

No comments: