H.C. Gildfind shares the inspiration behind the cover of ‘The Worry Front’ due for release in April 2018.
Thanks very much to Susan Miller for the subtle, stylish and intriguing cover she has designed for The Worry Front.
Susan has used the familiar symbol of the weather map to allude directly to the title-story’s central metaphor. ‘The Worry Front’ refers to the storm-system caused by the collision of thoughts in the narrator’s mind—collisions which create her body’s unrelenting weather. The cover’s ‘stationary front’ symbol indicates the narrator’s hard-won understanding that her life-long entrapment in worry results from an endless tug-of-war between equal, but opposite, mental forces:
‘I saw everything clearly: how, by constantly reaching for the future, my hopes and fears kept pulling that future back into the present, forcing the unknown to collide with the known, again and again. Bang, bang, bang! And, if the future was limitless? Well, so were my hopes and fears. No wonder my inner tumult never ceased!’
Susan’s cover also alludes to the wider themes and purpose of this collection: maps and stories are not, after all, so very different! Both use abstract symbols to represent real things that are infinitely more vast and complex than themselves. Both are intended to guide us: they locate us in the present by showing us where we have been and where we might go in the future. We all seek maps in our universal struggle to make the best of our lives—and that struggle, in turn, scars maps back into our very beings, creating stories that are, to quote Jeanette Winterson, ‘written on the body.’
Whilst The Worry Front is about these unique, personal stories, it is also about the word-maps that haunt us: the real stories of the lives that we envy; the scripted stories of the lives that we feel we ‘should’ lead; and the fantasies we write and yearn for in private. These ghost-maps and dream-stories are exactly what can sustain—or destroy—us.
Susan’s cover-design powerfully expresses the complex nature of The Worry Front’s attempt to map meaningful paths through the abstract and concrete terrains that combine uniquely within embodied, human experience.
Thank you Susan!
H.C. Gildfind lives in Melbourne and has published short stories, poetry, essays and book reviews in Australia and overseas. Gildfind has also researched interwar Australian literature and history, has been mentored by novelist Andrea Goldsmith, and is currently working on a novel. Margaret River Press published Gildfind’s short story collection, The Worry Front, in April 2018.