Sunday, April 24

Pretending, that beautiful art

It's that time of year again: the end of my school term. I only have one class this semester—there are four of us, and we've gotten to read really good books by really great editors and spend the majority of the rest of our time playing with the Adobe Design suite.

Despite the general Awesomeness of this setup, I have been working my tuchus* off on a project that includes coming up with a book idea, writing a query letter, designing the jacket, and laying out the book's front matter and first few pages.

*Don't you just love Yiddish? Now that's a Wikipedia page worth spending some time on.

I actually wrote a short essay (about my mother) for the first chapter of a collection I'm calling Rootless. The title's meanings are as deep as they are several, and I won't presume to tell you what to think, but I'll hint that it has to do with me having lived for long periods in various and disparate places, and also math. Like square root? And how I don't do math, in the philosophical sense?

While the essay itself is an actual attempt at writing something worthwhile, I found that when it came to writing the blurb for the jacket flaps, I had run out of steam. About the third paragraph, I just went where my thoughts took me (always a dangerous little game).

Well, here:

(click on it to enlarge)

Yeah, um, it's incumbent upon me to confess that those cover quotes are either made up (Quaddafi, for example) or borrowed (Michiko Kakutani's and Chelsea Cain's were lifted from the back of a David Sedaris book and modified).

But it's fun to pretend, isn't it?

That's something I've learned from Ethan lately. Within the past few weeks, his imagination has really kicked in. Last night I was sitting in his dim room, rocking while he was supposed to be going to sleep. He began telling me a story in a whisper, which slowly became sotto voce, and finally ended up as just plain old shouting.

At first we started off in a spaceship, which had to be maneuvered around comets, "cay-noes" (volcanoes) and "melums" (meteors), then there was something about planting all sorts of vegetables (yesterday we also planted tomatoes and peppers in containers), and in a surprising twist, we ended up working our way through seven tunnels, one of which was a hexagon. I dunno, the plot was complex.

Beyond the unpredictability and excitement of his developing and wild inner life, Ethan's creativity even extends to relationships. He's started viewing people differently, as companions, instead of just props and useful automatons. I've mentioned Ethan's best friend before, although in his young mind he has many best friends: all the people who love and care for him. I know this, because he tells us so.


"Uh huh?"

"Daddy's my dude. He's my guy. He's my good guy."

"I know, sweetheart."

And the other night, when he came in from sky-watching with Noah, he told me I was "pretty like the stars." Hmm. I should have used that as a jacket quote.


Swistle said...

I just loved this whole thing. The quotes. The "good guy." The title. The Yiddish.

Swistle said...

(Also, you remember that time your husband answered questions about police work? I still talk about that all the time to people. I'm like, "Well, I know someone married to a police officer, and HE says....")

Erin said...

Swistle—Both comments just made my week. And the second one in particular makes me feel slightly less like a boob for having used "my friend Swistle" as a source in conversations.

Jessica said...

I love it, Erin. Not just because it's beautifully awesome (it is!), but because you're so genuine, creative, and just plain good at what you do! I'll certainly be looking for your complete collection. : )

Erin said...

Thanks, Jess. I will be sure to quote you on that, too.

Costume Diva said...

Im so glad you were the one to FINALLY reach LindsLo.

Erin said...

CD—If I could reach *anyone,* I'm just glad it was her.

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

"I thought I loved Erin before. After seeing her book cover, I think she's officially going to need to get a restraining order against me."--Alison Presley, travel nerd and cornball.

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