Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bad Book Covers: Gypsies: Self-Publishing: A modern fable

Bad Book Covers: Gypsies: Self-Publishing: A modern fable
Bad covers gypsiesSelf-Publishing modern fable

It was just a book. It had, no flashy cover; no jacket at all and was somewhere between hard and soft bound. The one thing it had going for it was it had the sweet smell of leather, though I wasn't all that certain what animal hide was stretched over it. And the cover was not black; maybe grey, with dark lettering that was almost discernible. It was a bit worn. I had no idea why I kept it; but it was one of those small books, like the New Testament ones, some of those churches handed out. I'd pulled it out again, never really tempted to open it.

Once again I'd let my eyes focus and then go bleary; if I did this enough I could just read the lettering; the evening dusk wasn't helping. It said, 'Don't Mind Me'. And just below 'Anon', well it looked more like Anun: in it's worn condition. I'd never thought it was really A nun. I'd stifled the laugh and ended up chortling. I ran my finger along the binding and then in the channel between covers to feel the paper. The book was small and the pages looked a bit like onion paper, so it could still have the reality of a lengthy tome.

With it in my palm I'd slipped my thumb away from one of the covers and the softness had made the thing buckle just a bit and enough to flip the pages. It had opened to the title page which read, 'Don't Mind Me: I'm just your life'. It made me laugh, out loud.

I'd gotten the book from a gypsy palm reader at the traveling show; after she'd tried to read my lifeline on my palm and had gone to sleep. I should have known something was up, but I was waiting for her to say something; and when the big fellow from outside barged in, it had startled her awake: but the damage was done. Apparently something was way off, if my lifeline could put her to sleep; but no one was talking, they just wanted me to travel as far from their show as I could get.

It was while I ducked back through the beads and lace to relieve the line of customers that the gypsy pawned the book off to me. "Here kid you need this." I asked her what it was and she said, "A blessing and a curse." I told her she could keep her blessing and she shook her head. "You need the curse." That was the first time I'd looked at the book and I'd squinted the title into existence, before I'd stuffed it in my pocket.

What was that old saying about curses and making life interesting?

Well, if my lifeline had made her fall to sleep, I guess I could use some interesting in there. As I walked away with the large man stalking behind, I guessed he was there to make certain I followed their advice, I'd kept pulling the book out of my pocket: maybe to smell the leather.

Thoughts about my life; and the truth behind it all being quite boring, had given me pause as I reflected on the book and mused over the thought that I need a new author. I flipped more pages, each consecutive one was blank. I looked up to scan the outline of tents under a fog of colorful glowing lights and tried to ignore the presence of my watchdog.

I smiled: folded and stuffed the book back in my pocket: looked as though I'd get to write my own story: now.

J.L. Dobias - May 2015

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