Sadly it doesn’t appear to be available online, but those of you out of range of the paper version of today’s Courier-Mail have missed a pic of me I’m unlikely to repeat. It’s a full page, and it appears to have me leaping in front of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with all the glee and patchy judgment Tom Cruise showed that time on Oprah when wanting to turn his strong feelings for Katie Holmes into mime.
Here’s what happened.
A couple of weeks ago, while doing some kind of tour with Welcome to Normal and while my brain was simultaneously deep in draft 1 of book 3 of my forthcoming kids’ trilogy, I heard that The Fix was about to be shortlisted in a new category of the Qld Literary Awards: the Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year (to give it its full title). An attempt was being made to round up shortlistees for a group photo. Could six authors manage to make their diaries converge and end up in the same place at the same time? Of course not. So then it was to be done bit by bit.
Three authors turned up on day one and were shot with a red brick wall behind them (okay, not actually shot – the government’s no longer involved, remember – I mean photographed). I turned up solo on day two, by which time a decision had been made to reshoot the day one stuff anyway. The journo wanted action, but the day one photographer had been concerned about the liability risk of having authors leaping from a railing and onto concrete. Fair enough. We’re not known to fly well or land well. The day two photographer had no such qualms.
So, I was won over to the idea that, over the following days, leaping author shots would be taken, put in the paper and on posters, and distributed far and wide in the appropriate spirit of joy and whimsy. Fine by me. I’ve done far too many of the ‘author reading own book’ or ‘author stopping head lolling by holding index finger to temple’ shots in my time. My general rule is I’ll do pretty much anything that doesn’t involve blood loss or nudity, so I was up for a leap, or several.
Did anyone else leap? I have no idea. Maybe we’ll be barraged by leaping shots in the weeks to come, but not so far. So far, we’ve got three authors peeping out from behind their books in one shot. No doubt feeling slightly dicky at the time, but now feeling totally fine and thinking ‘at least I’m not the goose leaping on the cover’.
I’d heard yesterday that the awards would get two pages inside today’s Life section and the front cover. It didn’t occur to me that I’d be the front cover, with my ‘leaping in a loading dock’ pic photoshopped to have a bookshop backdrop. But, I can only say that’s totally fair game. If you say yes to leaping, they get to use it as they see fit. And I am both pleased and appreciative to be shortlisted for the award, so don’t go thinking otherwise just because my feet have mostly remained earthbound.
There are several things you could take away from it if you saw the pic. One might be to think ‘you sad needy bastard. You’ll do anything to get in the paper.’ Well, sure, but you might also think, ‘hey, look at that – that book’s so great he’s airborne,’ or ‘I now feel so embarrassed for Nick Earls I have to vote for him.’ I’ll take either of those two. And if they aren’t enough to entice you to vote, 20 people who do win a full set of the shortlist.
You realise what you have to do next. You have to go to the voting site and do your bit for The Fix. Thank you.
LATER – By popular demand, here it is … c-m pic 28:7:12 Since it’s not online I’ve scanned it. Can’t say why it’s B&W, but I don’t think it costs it much of its magic. The Courier-Mail said they were open to me using it in future with the right attribution. I think that sentence covers it. And perhaps I should add a thanks. I suspect this is a one-time-only reuse of this material …