There’s an old rock and roll classic “Every Picture Tells a Story” that always resonates with me.
Sometimes it’s a simple picture that will jolt me.
At the strangest times, that image will float back to the surface of my memory. I can almost see it beckoning to me as if to say ‘You just have to incorporate this into your next piece’.
Like last week at the grocery store where I witnessed a little old lady ‘accidentally on purpose’ ram her cart into that of a gentleman shopper. Maybe that’s a pick-up method for the septuagenarian group. There was a spark in her eye every time she did it. I made it a point to steer clear.
One of the many challenges for a writer is to paint a vivid picture with words that will help the reader ‘see’ what’s going on in the story. It’s not easy to do. But sometimes, it all comes together. And sometimes when you're working with the artist for the cover of your novel, everything works. I've had many compliments on the cover of "Fleeing Beauty". It has a tendency to draw the reader in.
Here’s an example from “Fleeing Beauty” that worked well. In this scene Jamie and her friends are unpacking one of the crates of sculptures that was found in her late father’s storeroom, more than twenty years after his death. Hope you enjoy it.
I watched from behind the video camera as Malone and Ian pulled the burlap off the sculpture. This one was a marble titled “Fleeing Beauty”. It was the body of a woman caught in the act of running. Tendrils of slender marble in various lengths and thicknesses extended from her head, as if they were locks of hair billowing out behind her as she ran. Part of her face was obscured, turned against her shoulder as if attempting to hide her features from whoever was chasing her. The woman’s body was voluptuous, full of dangerous curves. There was something haunting about this piece. The guys became quiet, which was unusual. Linda slowly moved around it, taking pictures with the other camera.
“Holy shit,” Ian muttered.
“Watch your language,” Malone said, cuffing him lightly on the back on the head.
“How did he do that?” Ian said, taking a step away. “She looks real.”
“She looks alive,” Malone said.
“Check the file,” I suggested.
Ian ducked back into the studio. The three of us were now leaning against the worktable that held the laptop computer. None of us could take our eyes off the sculpture. After almost two weeks of doing this, I thought I was becoming accustomed to unveiling these incredible works of art. But this one stopped me in my tracks. And it wasn’t just me. Linda and Malone were staring at it as well.
“He used a model,” Ian said, holding up the file.
We spread the file out on the worktable. There were pictures of a woman standing in front of a drop cloth. She was blonde, with an impish smile on her face. She could have been in her early to middle twenties. It was impossible to tell how tall she was. Her figure was eye catching, with a tiny waist and round hips. Most of the pictures showed her in a one-piece bathing suit. There was one where she wore a sheer negligee. There were shots of her standing on a pedestal, others with her arms outstretched, and still others where she was looking over her shoulder. In a couple of the photographs he must have used a fan to blow her hair back from her face. She had bottle green eyes that were very expressive.
“She’s a doll,” Ian said softly.
“I wonder who she was,” Linda said.
Pushing the pictures toward Malone, I started flipping through the other papers in the file. There were sketches and notes in Peter’s now familiar handwriting. Across the top of one page was a name. Meredith Bell. I showed it to Malone. He turned over one of the pictures and pointed. The same name was written across the back.
“Jamie, I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Linda said softly.
“You’ll get no argument from me.”
And now that I can't stop hearing that song, here it is.