Debra Prinzing

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What a book cover reveals

September 7th, 2007

Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways 

Good news: I just received the Clarkson Potter Spring 08 catalog and we’ve been given two full color pages to promote “Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.”

This puts us smack in the middle of very good company. Stylish Sheds is featured between “Chocolate Epiphany,” by famed pastry chef Francois Payard, and “Living like Ed,” by Ed Begley Jr. (Hollywood’s eco-guru).

A preliminary cover design (see above) features a fantastic cedar potting shed in the Seattle garden of our friend Joan Enticknap. I have a feeling this isn’t the final cover, because when art director Marysarah Quinn needed to create a cover for this catalog in early April, she had photography from only 10 of the book’s locations to choose from. But the inviting spirit of Joan’s gem of a shed appeals to me – and I wanted to share it here.

“Shed” by Alexander Brooks (10); “Shedistas” by Benjamin Brooks (15)

“Shedistas,” by Alexander Brooks (10)

“Sheds,” by Benjamin Brooks (15)

 

When we were going through all the hoopla to figure out the cover art (not to mention the book title), my sons created their own book covers for me. I’ve had their sketch with Benjamin’s “Sheds” and Alexander’s “Shedistas” cover ideas taped to my computer during the grueling process of writing 50,000 words (these drawings are accompanied by some wordsmithing, including possible alternatives to the adjective “Stylish,” including “sensational,” “sublime,” “superb,” “saucy,” “spicy,” and – this is an odd one – “syncopated.”)

The effort my family has invested to help us create this book has always put a smile on my face. And thank goodness for children who naturally simplify the things we adults find complex. After all, why are we grownups drawn to backyard sheds? I think it’s to recapture those fleeting moments of childhood joy when we hunkered down in the playhouse or climbed a rickety ladder to the tree house Dad constructed.

This is a favorite quote of mine, which explains in part what I wanted to explore in Stylish Sheds:

“All really inhabited space bears the essence of the notion of home . . . . We travel to the land of ‘Motionless Childhood,’ motionless the way all immemorial things are. We live fixations, fixations of happiness. We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection.” (Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space)

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