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The camera doesn't lie


I must admit, I don't like most photos of myself. I'll spare you the specifics, but let me just say that I really work at it, and I'm pretty sure I should look 25.


But I don't. Go figure.


So I've developed my personal threshold for acceptable photos: As long as they don't look like the visage that stares back at me every morning in the toaster, I'm OK with them. Usually not thrilled, but OK.


This rule has been tested routinely by my husband, who writes a daily blog and, as a result, needs an endless supply of stock photos. Enter: moi, the handiest and cheapest model available – as long as he sticks to the rules. Otherwise, there's hell to pay.


I'm always really glad when I see him taking a photo far away from wherever I am. Distance is the best Photoshop ever, which means no prepping for my closeup. I can just be me.


Which is why I was so startled to see these photos he took of me shoveling snow. They were obviously taken from a good distance, but to my eye they revealed so much about where I was that day.


I was trying to dig myself out of a creative funk that had put me in a darker-than-usual place. I've been struggling to get my book, It's Hard Being You, A Primer on Being Happy Anyway, to a larger audience, and it's been rough going. Recent accolades – mine is a Michigan Notable Book for 2023! – have buoyed me, but, as is my wont, I'm shooting for the moon. And a national audience remains elusive.


So I've been stewing and stymied, searching for a foothold that will take me where I want to go.


See that woman shoveling in a zigzag pattern down the long driveway? That's me trying to work out a plan.


See her shoveling in the dark? That's me trying to get something done, even when I don't want to keep at it.


I'm tired, but I'm glad to see that woman, facing the elements and digging in.

 

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15 Comments


Refreshing to see another creative doing something peculiar for the sake of digging out :) of a roadblock. I planted a tree at midnight once! I also struggle with photos of myself - I would rather not if it can be avoided-hahah Also , I am thinking that the national audience is right around the corner. Keep doing things the way you are- your book is really fantastic people just take forever getting onboard! LW

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Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
Feb 01, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for your encouragement, Lea. Ever onward!

XO Sharon

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Guest
Jan 28, 2023

I am close to finishing Deidre Bair’s biography of Samuel Beckett, simultaneously reading her memoir about writing Beckett’s and Simone de Beauvoir’s biographies. a thought struck me about these writers’ experiences and your quest for a national audience: Ya gotta be in it for the long haul. (Deeply insightful, eh?!) I wish you the best - you and your book deserve it. And I like your way in to this post.

Melissa Kaplan

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Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
Jan 29, 2023
Replying to

I think your insights might be right, Melissa. Nothing I’ve done has come easy - and yet I know to be grateful that they came at all - so I need to buck up for the long haul, as you say. Thank you!

Sharon

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Guest
Jan 28, 2023

I love that photo. And your explanation of what was going through your mind was so interesting and understandable. Now, the question is -- What else have you been doing around the place in different manner trying to figure things out? - Brian

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Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
Jan 29, 2023
Replying to

So far snow shoveling is my main action, Brian, but hubs is trying to point me in the direction of more of his chores. 😂

Sharon

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Guest
Jan 28, 2023

I don’t know about all this struggling and “national audience” stuff - I just want to comment on the sharp, clean angles on your zig-zags. That is some exceptional shovel technique you’ve got there. Okay! - I hope that helps with the destymying. -Jim B.

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yremes
yremes
Jan 28, 2023
Replying to

You sound like my hubs, Jim! Got it! Sharon

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Clarice Joos
Clarice Joos
Jan 27, 2023

There should be an expression similar to “sticker shock” that describes that feeling of shock and dismay when you see a photo of yourself not looking like you expected (25 years old or 25 pounds smaller).


Regarding wider reach for your book…have your shoveling thoughts taken you to the very public figure who is also very familiar with two key themes of the book? (stuttering and loss of a child). Maybe that’s a kooky idea or maybe it’s shooting for the moon.

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Clarice Joos
Clarice Joos
Jan 27, 2023
Replying to

“Picture shock” would work.

Can’t argue with the Chairman of the Board.

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