I’m working on preparing an old manuscript for publication—what do you think of these two covers? I woke up this morning and took my camera for a walk. A lot has changed since I first came to Brooklyn, and I felt uncomfortable snapping photos of brownstones when I know that longtime residents are wary of newcomers invading and occupying their neighborhoods. I’m partial to the first cover, though I don’t yet have permission to use that photograph (ETA: which is why they asked me to take it down). My ideal image would be a black woman shielding one eye with her hand, but I can’t afford to hire Lorna Simpson and don’t think I have the energy to find a model and shoot the cover myself.
One Eye Open is a novel I started in 1993 after spending my first summer in Brooklyn. I finished it in 1999 while living in Toronto, but couldn’t find a publisher and so set it aside (you can read a chapter here). The manuscript needs work, and I may try to do some editing this weekend, but mostly I just want it to exist. I want to leave behind a body of work—what if your life ended unexpectedly? What would be visible and accessible, and what would be buried on your hard drive or tucked away in a drawer? We’re doing a self-publishing panel on 4/21 in Toronto and I’d like to have proofs of One Eye Open to share. I’m a better writer today, but still feel proud of my first novel and want to quietly welcome it into the world sometime this spring.