Over the past few months, I've been putting the finishing touches on my upcoming book, Lifeless Pile of Mush. I'll be honest: it's been a learning experience. And by "learning experience" I mean that, at times, this process has made me want to pack a duffel bag in the witching hour of the night and start a new life as a welder in a small Northern England town. Perhaps somewhere by the sea.
When I first announced that I was releasing my book of essays, I legitimately thought I'd send out copies within the month. At that time, I'm certain that the entire heavenly realm was looking down on me (I imagine a bunch of naked baby angels in the style of Anne Geddes), rolling with laughter and hurling angelic spitballs in my direction for being so adorably optimistic. And man, those naked babies were right.
Folks, A LOT goes into the final stages of creating a book, especially a book that you actually want people to read. Writing a book: fun. Editing a book and priming it for printing: an endless, exhaustive purgatory. That said, a lot of my last month has been devoted to some really tedious aspects of book creation, and I am abundantly thankful for your patience in all of that.
The thing I am sharing with you today, however, is the opposite of tedious. Instead, it is a breath of fresh air that has filled my lungs with a vitality to take me through to the end of this process.
I recently reached out to Tim Bauer, a brilliantly talented designer friend of mine, to help me create a cover for the book. I know what you're thinking: don't you already have a book cover? The one that's a picture of your cat? And yes. Sort of. I created that book cover myself as a part of my pre-sale promotional materials, but honestly, let's be real: I'm no designer.
But Tim, on the other hand, super is. That's why, when he agreed to collaborate with me on a whimsical cover that would celebrate the spirit of Lifeless Pile of Mush, I was ecstatic. And even though I've seen his impressive work in the past, I was in no way prepared for how much I would love the design he created for me. You ready to see it? EEEEEEEK.
HE MADE AN ILLUSTRATED MACARONI AND CHEESE PRINT. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????
So you may be wondering: how did we land on this idea for a mac and cheese print? Well, for the record, let me first say that trying to explain an artistic vision to a professional designer is about as embarrassing as trying to explain a nightmare about your teeth falling out to the President of the United States. I sent Tim a bunch of design ideas that I'm sure made me sound insane, ranging from "a puddle creature with glasses" to "a brain that spells out the title...somehow?" I knew I wanted to find an object or a series of objects that could be representative of themes within the book, but I was having trouble landing on anything concrete.
One day, though, it came to me. I was scrolling through Twitter when I was struck by my very own profile banner that I had installed years ago. It's a terribly pixelated image of a pile of boxed macaroni and cheese. I chose it at the time for obvious reasons: I love mac and cheese, and I thought it was pretty. But in thinking about my book -- a series of essays about living well (enough) -- I suddenly realized that this mac and cheese slop was the perfect representation of "Lifeless Pile of Mush." HALLELUJAH.
I floated the idea by Tim, fully confident in his abilities but totally unsure if I explained the concept correctly, and a few days later, he sent back that glorious image of gold macaroni goodness. I won't lie to you: I cried.
To get you as excited as I am, here's what it will look like as a paperback book:
Here's what it will look like as an ebook:
Here's what it *would* look like as a can of soda:
Except, bad news: I won't be releasing this book in soda can form. Sorry.
But both of the book forms are TOTALLY going to be a thing. So if you want to get your hands on a type of macaroni art that isn't made by a child, this is your moment! I'm in the process of pre-selling Lifeless Pile of Mush right now!
Just a heads up: I'm going to be closing the cart on this book on September 30th, and it won't be available again until I officially launch later in the year. If you want to be one of the first humans to get a copy (at a pretty sweet pre-order price), I would get on it soon! For a recap on what this book is all about, be sure to check out this blog post I wrote a while back.
ALSO, real quick before I head out, if anyone is looking to work with a designer/illustrator/artistic magician (I don't think he would call himself that, but I would), I cannot recommend Tim Bauer highly enough. He took my insanity and turned it into solid gold macaroni. What more could a client ask for?