Today, I was sent the back cover of my new book to approve. I’m always a little delighted and thrilled to see the manifestation of my art and how an editor envisions this project, so I couldn’t wait to see what the back of the book would look like.
When I opened the file, all alone at my desk, I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help but find their interpretation funny. Kinda awful . . . but funny.
The front of the book features a hand drawn image – the first half of a donkey…. and I approved this and loved it. But the back of the book features the back half of said donkey with his feet in the air as if he was dead. Now, I get it. The book ends with a death of sorts – the death of a marriage and dreams etc…. and I certainly am guilty of using the donkey as a metaphor for our entire story. That is, after all, the point of the title and how the book was designed from the beginning. Nevertheless, seeing this silly image of a donkey’s feet in the air was so horrible it made me laugh. I wish the book was more of a comedy, because there is a certain wit to this choice. But I really don’t feel it will work for my back cover. Frankly, the humor sends the wrong message….. and in all good conscientiousness, I can’t kill off my beloved donkey, even to get a smile out of a reader.
So I am back at the drawing board, coming up with suggestions as I gracefully point out that this image isn’t the best representative of the story. Perhaps the back half of the donkey (right side up) is enough. An ass should be metaphor enough. Or perhaps I should pick another image from the story. Then again, maybe the upside down donkey’s back end will grow on me and I’ll keep it. It’s an attention getter for sure!
Still, I love this first draft just for the fact that it makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. If there is one thing I believe, it’s that you really can’t take your self too seriously as an artist or you lose the best part of art’s great purpose….. writing (or any kind of art) exists as an honest reflection of humanity and life. I’ve always recognized that life has a great sense of humor. Why not embrace that.