I’ve never been a looker. Never a pretty boy.
Lost my battle with male pattern baldness in my late thirties.
My teeth are stained from a lifetime of coffee. And they’re not too straight or even. A few missing.
Broken that nose a new times. My family and friends helped with that. Still have a deviated septum. Snore like a bastard.
Facial wrinkles hide some of the scars.
Spots, freckles and beard the rest.
Old as fuck all, but it’s better than the alternative. My youngest, Mark, says I resemble Poppa Smurf. I should have drowned him as a child.
The only thing that hasn’t changed on that face in a long time is the earring.
And that’s okay. This face taught me early on to develop and rely on other strengths.
Things that last a little longer than beauty.
Despite a chronically checkered academic record, I did love to learn things as a kid. I remember most of it. The voices in my head –
fill in the gaps.
Despite my thick Bronx accent, and my love of a well (and often) placed expletive, I can speak eloquently when I need to.
Despite my innate laziness and preternatural procrastination, I have a strong survival instinct that has repeatedly overcome that predisposition.
And despite my rough exterior, I’ve always loved to make people smile. And sometimes laugh. Usually at the most inappropriate times. Wakes and in church are my specialty. That’s the true Celtic blessing.
Indeed, I once asked my wife, Lisa, why she decided to marry me.
I mean, seriously, at that point in my life I was a college drop out, with no assured future.
I literally had nothing to show except a long and consistent history of disappointing people.
I probably looked something like this.
Without skipping a beat, she replied, “You made me laugh!”
I was desperately hoping to hear my good looks and charm, even my sexual prowess, but I’ll take that as a win. Play the hand you are dealt.
So over the four plus decades since then, this face has manifested the stress of modern day life.
Raising kids, Irish family drama, four decades of a stressful profession in the toughest city in the world, and just doing really dumb shit along the way.
As a result, my face has become my Picture Of Dorian Gray for my mind and personality.
But I’ve kept Lisa laughing.
And the selflessness of that face has allowed the latter two traits to manifest The Claire Trilogy and now its prequel, Finding Jimmy Moran, in this sixth decade. With any luck, it will carry me through writing the sequel, Where The Ley Lines Meet, this summer.
Those stories are all drawn from memories collected in this mind and filtered through this evolving personality over that time. And they remain sharp. Some of them are funny.
(Wait, I better include that disclaimer my lawyer brain insists upon: It’s all fiction!)
So, I’m completely okay with the wear-and-tear on the face I’m stuck with to launch my books.
I’ve earned it.
If any of you fine, five readers haven’t yet read The Claire Trilogy, do it now in March, so you can fully appreciate why this face looks the way it does, and be prepared to look behind the curtain when you read Finding Jimmy Moran after April 13th (lucky for some). Remember, I wasn’t born this pretty.
But, if any of you ever spot this face in the street, walk up and say hello.
Oh, and before I go, let me give a shout out to Benji Harris. This wonderful kid came to the rescue yesterday when he stopped by the house to get my wife’s Acura restarted. It’s battery had succumbed to that last stretch of sub-zero weather. Benji got an inscribed copy of TWA for his kindness.
Thank you Benji.
Well, now I have a kitty to cuddle, rounds to make and the dreadmill.
Then a whole lot of mule muffins to collect, and hay bags and troughs to refill.
The outdoor fun never ends at Casa Claire.
Make sure that no matter what else you do, you make today a great one.