Bonnie’s careers as cellist in the Utah Symphony and a music teacher gave her the perspective that, sure, anybody could practice 10,000 hours and get their strings to vibrate, but would it pluck the listeners’ heart strings?
So she wrote her magnum opus, a volume on how to add passion to your passion, and dressed it in…a home-made cover. My soul screamed like acne-faced girls at a Bieber concert, but with “Psycho” strings in the background. (“Reet! Reet! Reet! Reet!”) If “You can’t tell a book by its cover,” the writers of clichés win and you lose.
I eventually convinced her to let me design the covers, though only after I’d crushed her in a who-is-taller contest. Her design parameters were: no, you may not eliminate half of the verbiage, and please use her clever design of the two bass clef signs forming a heart.
Next up: How do you visually express the flow of feeling in music? How it moves you, as if you’re on a boat made of ears? How to show that the act of listening to something well played can make you want to pee? Of course, the answer to all of those, especially the last, was running water.
Stock photo catalogs did not fulfill my needs—there are so many needs they never fulfill, but usually they’re good at having pictures—so I grabbed my trusty Canon and headed to Sugar House Park, which is endowed with a lovely creek that I don’t even have to convince to sign a model release.
I was able to let go of my irritation at the damn leaves that insisted on mucking up my shots—it was early November—once I let go of my preconceptions, and said aloud, “These are exactly the leaves I was looking for,” and realized the book would now employ a yellow palette. The leaves on the creek’s bottom now represent depth of feeling, and the ones floating show that life, like music, is beautiful, then turns yellow and mucks up your shots.
When life hands you leaves, make leafmonade.
Now, to sell the book
Now that the book had a skin worthy of its internal organs, it needed a sales piece. So Bonnie and I had a goatee contest. Bonnie flat-out sucks at growing facial hair.
The author’s photo was another thing absent from stock photo sites, so I shot that, too. Well, no, I didn’t. I missed our appointment because I got an offer I couldn’t refuse—a fun, fun ambulance ride! So, while my pants were being cut off (It turns out that underwear qualities have little effect on survival rates), Sylvia greeted Bonnie, both of them wondering where I was, took the shot, then got down to quietly freaking out until I was located.
It shows exquisite attention to detail that the author headshot accidentally shows the same autumnal quality of the creek. Thanks, November!
The brochure looks just like the book, only different. Sure, consistency ties them together and looks professional, but the dirty secret is: it’s also easier. Why have two ideas when just one will work even better? My accountant has warned me to not draw concepts out of my idea account faster than they earn interest, or soon enough I’ll be in overdraft, and it will be time to become a potato farmer, the kind that specializes in growing curly fries.
This is why creatives call it “bouncing ideas off you.” Because every new idea gets them closer to bouncing payments from their brain bank.
To find out more about Bonnie’s book, find “Journey Into the Heart of Music” on Amazon.