07 May 2006

Covers for our Dreams


Sat here in splendid isolation at 8.25 this evening, I am at peace with the world.


I haven’t been out either yesterday or today, and am missing Toby terribly (we have bugs), but I have been in touch with nature and myself. 


I can hear the birds singing plaintive solitary soliloquies, and the soft thumping of the rain, rhythmic.  The light is softly dimming and I feel that I have achieved all I have set out to do this weekend. 


My friend, Lisa, has produced the most amazing sketch outline for the cover of my novel – The King of Sandcastles.  I was like a small child when she sent through the PDF not knowing whether what I could see in my minds eye whilst writing the book was going to be translated into something solid rather than a misty-eyed dream.  I was frightened that the proposed publishers were going to trample over my dreams with their art department’s idea of a book cover, so asked my friend to help me thwart the normal course of events. 


A book cover should be, to me, something which introduces the story and invites the reader to enter the world –  beckoning and encouraging the safe suspension of all other thoughts and outside intrusions –to take respite for a moment cocooned within a world they would not otherwise visit.  A safe harbour to rest and replenish their mind in this crazy IT and TV driven world.


The book covers I have seen this weekend have done everything except that – they are cluttered and noisy with their own self-importance.  Distracting not complimenting and actually in one instance has put me off reading, what I am sure is inside, an excellent book.


Books should be read with relish, the experience not a disposable one (well at £7.99 for some of these paperbacks they are not really disposable are they?).  The paper and the fonts should be accessible, not hard yellowed cheap paper with a font so difficult to read it makes the reader struggle – that is the author’s job the struggling bit – the reader needs to sit back and glide through the book totally oblivious to the blood sweat and tears that have gone into it. 


No wonder we are finding it difficult to keep bookstores in business, gone are the days when you browsed and dreamed then bought.  Most my friends pick their books up with the groceries, and in some instances discard them as they do the spent packaging. I miss bookshops, Amazon doesn’t cut it for me.  I have heard of another one closing this week.  There will be none left and I will have to explain this to concept to my children when I write my memoirs.


Having said that unless this publisher can respect my dream, I shan’t be adding to their coffers.  I don’t think it is any coincidence that they ride around in plush cars, whilst authors struggle to sell a book a year, often propped up by the State. 


Instead perhaps I shall publish my own, one copy of the book at a time if necessary.  I won’t make a profit, but I will reap richer rewards than that.  I will have put my name to a book I am proud to show the world and all the satisfaction that that will afford me.  My dream will be intact and as I have nothing to prove, nothing will be proved, except that I will have achieved and my book won’t be covered in spilt milk before it gets home. 


What really has made my spirit soar is that I was able to convey to Lisa in totally inadequate words my dream, and she understood  - that has given me a real thrill and resolve to do this right. 


I have now lit my candle, said goodnight to my words, and am going off to watch TV my creative spirit nourished and awakened.


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