25 November 2013

Dust Jacket : When Women Were Birds

When Women Were Birds
Designed by: Abby Kagan
Art by: Adly Elewa

Empty journals are frightening.

All those blank pages.

That silence.

From Terry Tempest Williams book:

"They were exactly where she said they would be: three shelves of beautiful cloth-bound books . . . I opened the first journal. It was empty. I opened the second journal. It was empty. I opened the third. It too was empty . . . Shelf after shelf after shelf, all of my mother’s journals were blank.

A blank journal becomes a sigil of unshared personal histories. And that is where the fear comes in.

What are we if we leave only blankness behind?

You could look at a blank journal another way. As hope. A future untold. And a new journal is that. A soft bed for thoughts, hopes, life.

This cover is both comforting and menacing.

A bed of feathers. A pillow. Nature. Birds in flight.

But these are the feathers of a bird of prey.

peregrine falcon.

The most widely spread of the raptors. It has been clocked flying up to 200+ mph. It is the fastest animal.

How are blank journals like a peregrine falcon?

Peregrine means 'to wander'. As a mind. As the possibility in a blank page.

The artist, Adley Elewa, designs for Penguin Press. The photo also resembles a flock of birds in flight. Again. The mind let loose.

Sky Chase by  Manuel Presti

Again. That silence is both soft and beautiful. And also deeply troubling.

A quiet mind is a home to infinity. And to nothing.

Finding a room full of journals. That were your dead mother's. Then finding them empty.

Nothing left but that blankness. All that blankness.

Dust Jacket is a sometime article about the design and art of book covers. The idea is to shine a spotlight on the work of the designer separate from the author. Literally judging a book by its cover.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm trying to be more proactive with my posts. I was posting three times a week until this spring when I sort of drifted away from it.