There's a story behind the picture, of course, as there always is. It was taken in India in 2010 only a few days before I was due to leave. It was actually taken by Jayanthi, a dear friend from Chennai, who has opened her home to me on several ocassions. She took it when we were visiting Pondicherry, a tourist destination south of Chennai. The elephant was standing outside a temple, and you had to place a 5 rupee coin in the palm of your hand. The elephant would take the coin from your hand, put it in a basket, and pat you on the head with it's trunk--as a blessing. He was kind of unpredicatable with his trunck, swinging it around... But somehow Jayanthi managed to get this picture perfect, with the elephant and myself both seeming to be so calm! I'd never have thought, as I stood so close to this elephant and looked him in the eyes (which were HUGE by the way!) that it would be a captured moment I'd get to share with anybody and everybody! Isn't it amazing...
At that point in my life, I was 'digesting' the story that sits behind the cover. Little did I know that the 'digestion' was taking place at that time... Only hindsight reveals what was really going on during moments that have come to pass.
So, a month after this picture was taken, I ended up in Ireland. I didn't want to stay, all I wanted was to write the book. And I did. By december of 2010 it was finished. But it actually had a different title. I was first of all calling it: Feeding Fays Freedom. I was so set on that title. Once I left to China and later moved onwards to India, I'd been editting the whole script and contemplated the title. In India (when I was staying with Jayanthi again in October 2011), I found the title was too much of mouthful and also too soft for the strength that actually comes to life inside the book. I had a great time when I thinking up a new name! God, it could've been ANYTHING... and I was the only one to decide what the title was going to be... (now I kind of know what new parents go through too...when choosing a name for their newborn baby! It's quite a big responsibility).
Then one day in Jayanthi's house, I was taking a cold bath and the music from the temple was playing in the background. I'll never forget that particular moment. And suddenly I said outloud: Digesting Wisdom. I thought...humm... that's catchy... maybe that would work. After that I never let the title go.
When I came back to Ireland in February, Lorraine and I first started working on ideas for the cover. I thought first of all to use a symbol of some sort. I didn't consider using a picture of myself. No way! I didn't think I had the right to put myself on the cover of my book! 'Who on god's earth do you think you are, putting a picture of yourself on your first book?!' Hummm... So I contacted my cousin Mark, who designs posters and runs his own business. He suggested a picture from when I was travelling. Instantly I said I didn't want my face on the cover of my book. Either way, we continued to work together on other ideas, but he was still adament that a picture of me would have the best effect. It took me a while to actually realize that he was right. So I gave him a selection of my 'best shots' and he did 2 examples. When I looked at both covers, I loved this particular one. But I waited a while and let it sit with me before deciding for definite. I slowly realized that I'd never be able to gage how the cover would come across once the book was in print. I'd never know for sure how eye-catching it would be when scanning the bookshelves. So I trusted that the picture on the front would tell a story in itself and even give the book yet another dimension.
When it was printed and I held it in my hands, I knew it suited the story perfectly. It's real life, it's powerful and the connection I made with the spirit of the elephant comes out. Elephants just so happen to be a symbol of wisdom. What a 'coincidence' for Mark to have chosen this... I only put this link together AFTER he suggested to use this picture.
And here we are, with a title, a cover, a story and someone way too eager to get it out there. The book has arrived a new stage in its 'young' life and I feel a time approaching of proper promotion coming on!