Saturday, February 8, 2014

On the far side of the cover

This is my final cover design for the family history of my mother’s people in Australia, which is about to be published by Gamone Press in the form of a 266-page hard-cover book in Royal Octavo format (15.6 cm wide and 23.4 cm high) with a laminated cover:

Click to enlarge

Readers with an idea of all that is involved in book publishing will be aware that, behind such a simple layout, there are many technical and editorial issues. Then there’s the question, on the back cover, of how a 73-year-old author of a family-history book might refer to himself. As you can see, for the circumstances, I’ve become Waterview “Billy”.

Does such a personage still exist today… or is the present-day old-timer (and blogger) at Gamone named William Skyvington a totally different individual? That’s an interesting and indeed profound philosophical question. To my mind, “Billy” still exists… but in a ferociously new-born fashion, where almost all the Jacarandas and bendy bridges behind him have been burnt.

A single marvelous tree remains. In fact, a frail sapling. A mythical female phantom. I shall refer to her forever, simply (in any case, I never knew her name), as the girl in the fawn dress. Once upon a time, I caught a glimpse of her as I was waiting for the school bus in South Grafton. She was an angel. Unbelievably beautiful, but ethereal and untouchable, beyond the bounds of my contacts. She was a Catholic kid: a pupil of the school run by the nuns of South Grafton. In my mind, there has always been a photographic image of the house where she lived. It was the humble abode of Mary. It was unthinkable, of course, that I might ever dare to knock on that door. Meanwhile, I have spent my life searching for her. The girl in the fawn dress...

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