Strivers Proof Copies

strivers-squareReceived proof copies of SAOS recently. They look good.  Even though the trend-watchers say the hot color for book covers is BRIGHT yellow, I decided on an elegant colonial (or maybe steel?) blue that my designer Denise Nielsen of Pandenwolf Creative selected.  It’s actually a textured pattern, evoking cloth. At first we were going for an aged and distressed look, to convey the “history” contained in the stories. Eventually though, general aesthetics  won out: I looked on my bookshelf  and really liked the elegant and simple design and color palette of the cover of the paperback version of ZZ Packer’s “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” , so that’s the direction we took for the final version.

The cover art, “Pullman Porter” , is a piece by  D.C. artist Dana Ellyn. It was part of a very neat project she did, commemorating neighborhoods along  DC’s Cultural Tourism Heritage Trails.  The Pullman Porter, represents the H Street area around Union Station. (From the guide: “When it opened in 1907, Union Station was the world’s largest railroad terminal. For African American men the job of porter on a Pullman Company luxury rail car was among the best available.”)

A signature character in the title story “Strivers” is a porter as was my maternal grandfather Peter W. Lamar. I grew up steep in the lore and historical narratives surrounding  pullman porters–their dignity, pride and work-ethic; them being a conduit for passing information between regions; their (sometimes overstated) rolls in creating a segment of the black middle class in some cities.

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