Thomas Wictor

Why the Beard?

Why the Beard?

I’ve been asked again why I don’t shave off my beard so I can look younger.

Well, looking younger isn’t important to me. I’m fifty-one. It’s okay for me to look fifty-one. Currently, shaving isn’t a priority. I always hated shaving. You women should try scraping your face every day with sharp metal. I was left with bleeding or red, blotchy skin every single time I did it. Electric razor, disposable razor, straight razor, depilatory, foam, gel, old-fashioned shaving mug and special soap and badger-hair brush—didn’t make a difference. After I shave, I look like I’ve got chemical burns on my face.

And physical appearance isn’t a factor when it comes to success as a writer. All that matters are personal contacts. That’s what I’ve discovered. I could look like this or this; the end result is the same without personal contacts. Unless I have a lot of luck, I’ll remain in obscurity.

That’s fine. I don’t need to do this in order to make money. My father left me set for life, so I can write whatever I want. And people send me messages like this:

Thank you, Tom!

First, I wanted to say that you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers, stay strong. Well, I finally reached the end of it all (the Talkbass threads, not my sanity). All I have to say is, wow, what a journey! I thank you for your insight in to the ways of the world. It has helped me with my own problems that I’ve been dealing with. I’ve been way to angry at the world and you have opened my eyes. Thank you once again, kind sir. I wish I could put into words the way your writing has affected me but alas, they fall short once again.


P.S. Just ordered the new book, should be here tomorrow so I can start devouring it.

It’s enough for me to know that a handful of people understand. All it takes is a few.

There was a man with a tongue of wood
Who essayed to sing,
And in truth it was lamentable.
But there was one who heard
The clip-clapper of this tongue of wood
And knew what the man
Wished to sing,
And with that the singer was content.

—Stephen Crane

Despite his uncountable faults—many of which crossed every possible line—my father gave me the means to live my dreams. For that I must be grateful. It doesn’t make up for everything else he did, but I’m grateful for his choice. There are plenty of wealthy people who make a huge, public, trumpeting, self-aggrandizing deal out of cutting off their children. My father understood the freedom that his money would grant me. Because of him, I can write mainly for myself and for people like the reader who sent me that message.

The beard is immaterial to me. I wrote about it once before, here. If you want, check it out.

Someday I’ll shave again. For now, I have a gray beard. If that makes you not buy my books, so what?

You’re not my target audience anyway.

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