September 25, 2020

The Story Behind the Book’s Cover Design

Among other things, my daughter, Alicia, is an artist. Although only 14 years old in 2010, her work had already won awards and considerable recognition. As Dancing with Water neared completion, and as we began to contemplate artwork for the cover, I asked Alicia to draw the “Woman of the Water” that I had envisioned so many times. In my mind’s eye, I had seen the woman’s hair flowing in the water and I had seen the graceful, serene pose. However, my daughter was not in the least bit interested. Alas… Every now and again, I asked her, “Any thoughts for the Woman of the Water drawing?” But nothing came.

Then late one evening, Alicia dropped a sheet of paper before me. It floated gracefully in the air, taking several seconds to arrive in front of me . . . and there she was . . . the Woman of the Water. I gasped. I couldn’t believe it. She was perfect! I scanned the drawing and sent it to Melanie. We both agreed; this was the cover of the book.

Melanie’s daughter, Elaya, is also an artist. She went to work on the drawing and gave it the full-spectrum of colors we had also envisioned. Elaya also helped us design the cover. It was beautiful! We sent it out to several others for their comment and were surprised—and disappointed—to find that not everyone loved it as much as we did. We were told it looked like a romance novel and that it limited our audience because it had no appeal to the scientific community. Even though the essence of water is deeply feminine, we had to agree. They were right. So… after all that work and with the book nearly ready for print, we were in a dilemma. What was the cover to be?

Melanie and I both live in the mountains. There are plenty of places to photograph water. In fact, Melanie had taken all the water photos that begin each chapter of the book. Did she have anything that would work? Nothing seemed to fit.

It was October and the scenery was anything but lush and beautiful. Then one day, in response to the question, Where do we go to get a picture of water for the book? Melanie “heard” the inner response, “Well, you want a picture of a spring don’t you?” OK, a spring, we thought. Where do we go to get a picture of a spring? “Cascade Springs!” Melanie said. “It’s where I went just before the birth of each of my children!”…and out poured her story. Before each child had been born, she had been drawn to visit Cascade Springs—where the energy of new life springing from the Earth is strong. This time Melanie was too far away but Cascade Springs is just over an hour from where I live—and I had wanted to visit for over a year. In fact, I had told a friend that I wanted to hike there during the summer.

I left one morning after the kids were off to school. It was a beautiful day. The short hike was wonderful and I gathered a bit of horsetail and ate watercress from the spring with my lunch. Then I took a few pictures and headed home. The photo that ended up on the cover of the book was taken that day and Dancing with Water was officially born two months later.

And what about the Woman of the Water? You will find her as a watermark gently gracing the beginning of Part I and Part II of the book—an expression of the deeply feminine essence of water.