A little earlier in my career (actually a lot earlier), I wondered about what my first book cover would look like. I’m now years along and I still don’t know. But thinking about it is something I actually have to do now. Last week, I went to a museum at lunch time to think about this project. The Harvard Art Museums reopened the Fogg building last November and I’ve been twice. Once with the family and once last week to think about the cover. If you live in the area, and haven’t gone yet, I would recommend it. I like what they’ve done with the old building although it does take some getting used to. There’s a lot of glass.
I used to go to the Fogg a lot before it was renovated. I would go to think, to work out a particularly hard problem, or to get a little bit of inspiration. The museum was only a ten minute walk from my office (still is), and I had a few favorite works I would stand in front of and let my mind wander. Mostly a couple of Monet. I tried this with the scholar rocks and it didn’t do much for me.
In any case, this time I wandered around, imagining what different works would look like on the cover a book. What surprised me was how many I ended up not liking much of what came into my head. It’s not that the works weren’t good; many of them were my favorites in the museum. It just looked weird to me. Not out of place so much as misshapen. I left thinking that book covers are a lot harder than what I had initially thought.
I’m not a visual artist. My talents do extend in that way. It seems the bu-bun powers of the warrior poet extends only so far. In any case, wandering around the museum was a good way to clear my head and get one idea out of it. Visiting an art museum is a lot like reading poetry–it’s really good for your brain and whole lot easier than you think. Anyway, as Howard Junker would say, “Onward!”