I just got my new copy of Braunbeck's new collection Sorties, Cathexies, and Personal Effects; my contributor's copy came courtesy of my having done the afterword. The CD-ROM was almost two years in the making, partly because a new story Braunbeck was to write for the collection turned into a new novel.

I think it came out very well.

Except for one teeny-tiny, itty-bitty thing that nobody but me will likely care about: I hate my author photograph. It makes me want to hide under my bed.

I'm much younger and thinner in the photograph. I'm actually wearing makeup. My hair looks good. So why do I hate it?

I'm dressed up to go to a goth club in San Francisco. Yes, I did the goth thing for a while. Yes, it was fun. No, that ain't me anymore.

I'm a closet goth now. I still dig the music -- Siouxsie, Bauhaus, Leatherstrip, etc. -- but I enjoy other music, too. Still dig horror movies and horror novels, all that. Still write creepy stuff that Gritchka wishes I wouldn't. Still like wearing black, but with all the cats it's just not practical.

I got into the goth scene through of one of my housemates, Steph. This was in the mid-90s when I had just finished grad school and was very depressed. Steph is a bubbly, social sort (perkygoth? You're soaking in it!) and started dragging me out to the goth clubs and to SCA events. I never really took to SCA much (though I got a few dates out of it, which was a good thing) but I have to say the goth clubs were fun.

I met a lot of interesting people while I was doing the goth thing. Yes, I also met a number of boneheads, but boneheads are everywhere; the goth scene doesn't have a monopoly on whiners or poseurs. There's a funny thing about being depressed; you can sit alone at home, or you can get dressed up and go dancing. The scene got me through a very bad time in my life; it gave me something to do, if nothing else, got me outside the claustrophobic confines of my own head for a while.

But, yes, I got sick of the club scene, as many people do as they get older. I got tired of being judged solely on my appearance by clotheshorses (hey, I can get that kind of shabby treatment in the mainstream, you know?) Playing dress-up was fun for a while, but I'm a jeans and tee shirt kinda woman.

And what it comes down to is that I hate being associated with something that's become a cliche. There's so much about my life that seems cliche that I can't control.

I'd sent the editor the gothy photo because that was the only remotely decent one I had (I don't photograph well). I found a more "normal" photo of myself later, which I sent him in several different incarnations, but which he apparently lost or mislaid.

Oh well. Everyone hates their pictures, right? And at least nobody could use this one to stalk me.

I'm going to cringe about this for the next several days, I expect, and then something new and far more embarrassing will come along for me to angst over ....