I recently needed to make up some new business cards for the SCBWI LA conference. If I was going to the trouble of printing them up, I wanted something unique, something that represented me. But I didn’t have much time, and didn’t want to pay for a custom logo or anything. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that all the templates on Zazzle and Moo just fell flat, but still, come on, guys! Typewriters and moving pens? That’s the best you can do? (Sorry if that’s what’s on your business card – I’m sure it’s just fine!)
So I went in search of something more personal. I looked at all the images I had created for my first writing project, Centennium, awaiting revision while I work on my current project, but they were all just too… bad. (Drawing just ain’t my thing, as you’ll soon see below.)
Inspired by one of my critique partners who created her own thank you cards from her childhood birthday party photos, I looked at old writing I did as a kid, and had a good giggle or two, but, well, who puts their first grade essay on Bigfoot on their business card?
Note the date (OK, outing myself here): June 9, 1976. I was seven. Check out what Bigfoot is saying: “She’s got legs! Wo-wo”. Sorry, what? I’m assuming Bigfoot’s talking about me. What did he expect I’d have, flippers? And weirder still, ZZ Top’s “She’s Got Legs” didn’t come out until 1983…. Hmmmm. I started thinking I had a copyright case. As you can see, this business card thing had me way off track, Googling ZZ Top lyrics and copyright law.
The only thing left to do was to stare off into space, which is what I do when I’m stuck with the writing. And there, strategically placed into that staring-off-space was my “inspiration shelf”, a collection of things from my childhood, and random bits of whimsy. And there, front and center, was an image I’d bought in a bookstore in Rome last spring.
I’ve always loved books, and especially old books. My grandfather was a bibliophile and used book dealer. Thinking of him still reminds me of the smell of old books and Coffee Nips. Visits with him always involved side trips to the used bookstores (even when we were just supposed to be going for milk). I spent many an afternoon leafing through books, searching for treasures. My first project, Centennium, is all about the love of books, the magic of stories, and very special grandfather. In Centennium, the multi-generational publishing family has one special edition of each of the ninety-nine published Beckett Books illuminated by hand. So last spring, when I stumbled into an antiquarian bookstore in Rome, and they had this stack of “initial caps” – the first letter of a chapter that’s larger and often stylized – I had to have one. And now I have one from Paris, too.
So that was it. An image for my business card. It represents my writer identity perfectly: it’s old (hey!), shows a reverence for books, and has a bit of whimsy and mystery. (I really do wonder what these Romans are burning, and what book this came from.) But the most important thing was, I was done! Now I just have to hope they arrive before I leave for the conference….
(And as my little gift to you, if you’re of a certain age, I bet you have the tune to “She’s Got Legs” running through your head, and images of long legs and beards. You’re welcome.)