On a table of great narratives, I had to ask myself why someone would choose this one. I rely on words 100% of the time and was confronted with adding a visual that would capture all 59,571 words of this novel.
For many years, I felt like love was more of a noose than anything else (not necessarily the way I was being loved but more the way I was doing the loving). Certain relationships were suffocating. I had become far too familiar with being a Black woman who was left hanging. There is so much symbolism in that; centuries' worth of symbolism.
The cover had to be a petite, brown girl with curly hair barely big enough to fight off whoever did this to her. There had to be vulnerability, weariness, and acknowledgment that this really happens, in broad daylight at that.
This fragile idea needed a designer I could trust so I called up my ex-boyfriend. David is an incredibly talented artist. He has all the makings of a creative genius. I worried that this image would haunt him like my words often haunt me but I had to ask him.
At the time, I felt like I owed him a debt I could never repay and here I was adding to my tab. A part of me considered the craziness in having him do it as if we didn't have enough things tying us together forever. It was even more awkward because we were both dating other people and it could seem very messy. Couldn't I have asked someone else? Maybe, but I knew he could do it and I knew he had to do it. Because everything about this novel is calculated, sentimental and layered, it would be a stronger gift to the world to have him of all people do it. Anyway, I called him up and said...
I'm in awe of our bravery. The graphic is true to the story, it is true to the history of Black women and it is especially true to who I was. Sometimes love is a noose and sometimes death is the miracle. It’s all part of my story.