Last night I took Vincent Fortier out for dinner to thank him for allowing us to use his photograph for Pluto’s cover. We met up at Barbounya, a Turkish restaurant on Laurier West, and ate stuffed calamari, ceviche and fried kale.
I had never met Vincent before. He’s an Instagram friend whose pictures I adore.
I had resisted joining Instagram for so long, but relented last year. I didn’t want another social media account to manage. But once I began to explore it, I was hooked. I love the glimpse it gives me into the interesting lives of (handsome) people I don’t know. Sometimes it feels like I should know them, that if we lived in the same city I would.
Vincent is another Montrealer. He takes amazing pictures of the city (particularly in fall and winter). In many ways I feel I am rediscovering Montreal through his images. God knows I haven’t had much time to wander the city lately. Thankfully, I can with his photos.
When it came time to discuss the book cover with my publisher, I didn’t know what to suggest. What one image could sum up the story I’d been writing for the past 14 years? Would it be a shot of Will’s face? A map of Montreal? An illustration of the solar system? I knew, however, what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a half-naked man on the cover, and I didn’t want it to look like a sci-fi novel.
Then I saw Vincent’s picture. Immediately I knew it’d be perfect. The image is quintessential Montreal. The metal spiralling staircase is something you see behind most homes. It’s the kind of staircase I picture Will climbing to peer into Max’s apartment. And then there is the clothesline – another evocative image from the book. I’m not sure what’s on that wire – a bird or a clothes peg – but whatever it is reminds me of Will’s mother.
And then there is the pink/purple sky, as bright and open as the most beautiful days in winter. Night falling. Invisible stars. The heavens. The more I looked at it, the more I saw my own book. And now it’s the cover. All this, from a great new friend on Instagram.