What a conundrum for Haydn Rex Pratt. He had just published his fourteenth novel and the local newspaper needed a photograph. What photograph should be used? He had a substantial collection of self-portraits but it was a question of selecting one that verged on the academic.
For example should he supply a photograph of himself sitting engrossed at a desk with a pen poised between his thumb and forefinger and the other end of the pen just touching his lips? It was reflective and almost professorial. No, it would not do. What writer these days would be seen dead holding a pen? Hadn’t they heard of computers?
His snapshots sitting at a computer were humdrum. Many of them had the camera flash reflected on the screen. It was so amateurish. Besides, most of these photographs were several years old and the style of keyboard and mouse (not to mention the clothes he was wearing) had quickly become dated and unfashionable.
Then there were several to choose from that were taken outdoors. One of these in particular was his favourite (people said it didn’t look like him but he absolutely adored it). He was standing in front of a date palm. Everything in the picture was so natural. He was smiling. He knew exactly why he was smiling. His time in North Africa had been one of the most enjoyable vacations he had taken. That gladness was clearly reflected in the photo. But what did smiling in front of a date palm in North Africa have to do with his novel? And he couldn’t remember the name of the woman who was standing next to him.
There were several photographs that were unmentionable. He kept them hidden at the bottom of the pile. They were inappropriate of course, but he looked at them for some time as if they could serve some use to the local newspaper.
In the end, Haydn Rex Pratt selected a photograph of himself that didn’t seem to place him in any context or setting. It was a full-length photograph, but it made him look particularly handsome. Not that he wasn’t naturally handsome, but this photograph captured him perfectly. Perhaps it was the quality of light or the precise angle that encapsulated his fetching masculinity. Who knows? It was this photograph that he always thought should be used as a basis once the town decided to erect a statue of him; the resident famous novelist!
Haydn Rex Prat tucked the photo into his inside jacket pocket and set off for work. It was a busy life being the editor of the local newspaper.