Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cover Story

It’s about time I got back to my book. It’s called The Therapist’s New Clothes and it tells the story of my training as a psychotherapist. (Note: I am currently a writer and not a psychotherapist.) In order for the book to join its fellows on shelves, display tables, and nightstands, it needed to have a cover.

Now, the inside of my head probably looks something like this:(Photo by Jake von Slatt. See I have no confidence in my sense of design. I approached a local artist, the excellent and versatile Amy Anselmo. Very quickly we established our fondness for the chaise longue, that universal emblem of talk therapy. Here is a chaise of her creation:

Amy did a trial design, a rich red cover with white type and an elegant red velvet chaise. I called her and said that something was missing—clothes. “Come on over,” she said. “We’ll try out designs right here.” So I went to my closet and stuffed a bunch of clothes in a bag, including some flowing jackets I wore during my training and which are mentioned in the book, and drove to her house. And here’s where things went awry: I had tucked in a garment by a designer whose work Amy and I both adored. The light hit funny when Amy tried to photograph the piece, so we played with images from the artist’s website. Some photoshopping, a bit of fading, and we had it—a gorgeous book cover! So easy!

Too easy, as it turned out. The designer wasn’t comfortable with my using it. She had a licensing agreement, deals pending, needed to manage how her work appeared in the world. How confounding this was—the photo was out there, to be nabbed with a few keystrokes, but I couldn’t “have” it. I was attached to the design, kind of like a crush, and had to wean myself away from it. At Amy’s suggestion, my husband, Tony, took a bunch of pictures of me wearing a red velvet dress (we decided to stick with that theme). She experimented with the images and came up with something quite nice. Many who saw both cover designs liked this one better. We just have a bit of tweaking yet to do.

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