This scribble is one of many ideas for the book cover design for my third novel, Drinking from the Fishbowl…that looks like a bunch of madness, right? The manuscript is so close to “done” I can just about scream! So the doodling on yellow legal pad paper is part of the process of thinking about what to do next… of course, a character in the book used yellow legal pads for writing…so why not use the image? Maybe…wait n’ see, it’s early yet.
I’m looking at the bedraggled manuscript, dog-eared, marked up, stained, smudged, creased…and a bit cockled by the humidity… I plodded through it since the beginning of August, poking around to see what needs to be tweaked, is there anything left to cut, any words that I’ve used incorrectly or words spelled correctly, but not the right word, and now I wonder if this is “it”. Can I really start thinking about how I want it to look?
Then I ask myself: Should I comb through it one more time?
Probably. When in doubt, right?
When people ask me, “So what is your book about?” I tell them… “It’s about dreams and realities…” I let it settle in what that means, and then I say “We dream about all this stuff we plan to do, what we want to “be”, but the reality of those grand plans never quite turn out as expected…reality can be disappointing…or unexpected…and of course, shit happens and knocks us off course…sometimes it takes a long time to get to where you want to go…”
The first line goes like this:
…and then he asked, “Why do you want to be a poet, Georgia Sullivan?”
For her, being a poet was what she always wanted to be…it takes a while to get there…
Every time I’ve read through this manuscript, it’s hard to believe it’s become this at last…it grew from the smatterings of notes scribbled on scraps of paper, post-it notes, and long hand passages in a salt n’ pepper notebook going as far back as sometime in the summer of 2000, back when I had no idea where it was going. I was getting to know the characters, who are they, what is their story? Each one has their own story. Now it’s this… an untidy pile of paper and for the last few days I’m considering what to make for a book cover…(being an indie author, I get to do this.) I love the process of making a book, from those first scribbles to the first draft, and all the subsequent drafts, the frustrations, the surprises, the doubts, and the certainties. The editing, the blood bath of the red pen, the cutting of words, sentences, and the obliteration of entire chapters…I can’t say for sure when it will be available…should I do it before Christmas or wait until 2016……my first reader has settled down to read it… (she’s been my first reader for all of them, she read this one in its second draft infancy.)
I think I’ll stick with Sabon for a font.
I should make more scribbles on yellow legal paper…should I do a painting? Incorporate the scribbles in a flood of watercolor washes and maybe add a layer of tinted rice paper? Whatever I do between now and when I finally turn it over to my Fred to design the guts and cover, he will make it beautiful…unique.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer…an artist…I wanted to make things, especially books. I didn’t get to it right away, I don’t have a pedigree, I had some life to do first…I’m glad I waited.
(I love making my books.)