After a while, it was sort of funny how little seemed to work. From erratic e-book formatting to low toner levels on the first batch of printed copies, a licensing dispute and the title getting attributed to a different Colin Turner, there were so many complications that I had to laugh at the latest. Admittedly, it’s a minor glitch.
“Los Angeles, California: A nude woman recorded in a series of photographs starting in 1899 hasn’t aged a day by 1946, the year of her most compelling picture.” So began the product description for my new book, IMAGE: An Illustrated Novel. The Amazon page where the Kindle edition was featured included “More items to explore” below the details. To my dismay, the recommendations bordered on pornography. Maybe removing the adjective “nude” from the introductory sentence would solve the problem, I had reasoned. I was wrong. The metadata keywords are the next to undergo my scrutiny.
In the meantime, it’s a reminder that a woman’s bare body, in our culture, is automatically sexual. Either a female is sufficiently dressed and decent or she reveals too much of herself and is seen as sleazy. Those who’ve volunteered to model for me were amazingly beautiful but ashamed of how they looked underneath their clothes.
IMAGE is an effort to portray the figure by focusing on its absence. Seventeen of its eighteen illustrations are of antiques, the last one of nothing at all. Completing the project was a challenge. A movement disorder made drawing difficult. I finished the final picture in March of 2020.
Releasing the novel wasn’t any easier. Even after exchanging twenty-one query letters for rejection notices and deciding to publish the manuscript myself, a number of issues arose. I wrote about the paranormal and have jokingly said that a ghost was out to get me. The likelier scenario is scarier. Many people with my condition develop dementia. The dumb mistakes that I have made lead me to wonder if my cognitive decline has already begun. If so, the clock in the illustration for chapter four is appropriate. Maybe it’s only a matter of time.
Update: I’ve fleshed out the product description a little; “nude” is included once again.