"Soul Crossing" (subtitled) "Postcards From The Inner Journey Home" is a collection of creative writing, essays, and nature photography that attempts to tell the story of the journey of the Soul (as I and millions others in spiritually based recovery groups, churches etc have experienced it.) Since each piece of writing is accompanied by a photo on the facing page, I feel the phrase "Postcards" is very fitting for this reason as well as the fact that Postcards are moments captured on a Journey – though I do not really want this worked into the design i.e. little past cards linked together etc - Not.
The basic premise is that the Soul usually does not follow its intended path but rather evolves through stages from childhood innocence, to peer/parent and external influences, seemingly protective defenses (i.e. the ego deflecting mechanisms and creation of our Persona = ‘who I want you to see’) which then often lead to a young adulthood filled with ego based, external pursuits which seem like they will lead to the greatest happiness. If continued upon, this path often leads to external dependencies such as pursuit of relationships, money, status, power etc and in more extreme cases to chemical dependencies, food, work, sex addictions etc. But even for milder cases, when we find ourselves obtaining/achieving the things we think will bring us happiness, we are often still left with a feeling a hollow emptiness, alienation, and a sense that there really should be more to life..
The truth is that very few of us consistently follow a spiritually based path throughout life and all one has to do is look around to see the results. A world where there is less peace, contentment, and brotherhood than ever – with upwards of 20% of people being treated for depression, another large group with anxiety issues. Not to mention the breakdown of the family, societies at war, and very few people engaged in careers where they feel true passion, like they are living their calling.. I and many others, who have hit a quicker bottom than most, have found that the typical journey of the soul involves some serious backtracking, back to that childhood innocence where we did things for their own sake not because of what they would bring us (and where the soul often dropped hints as to our true gifts of purpose). We had to go through time in the desert and allow our ego defenses to be stripped away so we can see just how much we have hidden from ourselves, about ourselves. And we also have to leave behind those dependencies, whether they be revolving romantic relationships, or chemicals. Finally we have to get right about the supply question in the universe, and of course this is where the spiritual comes in, which can be difficult for us lifelong atheists. However if it’s that or death, the mind opens a bit, and we find we have to turn from a life of selfish pursuit to one of unselfish service.
The amazing thing is that, what at first seems so counterintuitive, and such wishful thinking begins to bear fruit and then this part of the journey turns from work and pain to something we want to continue. As Dr. Karen Anderson found when she studied basically every spiritual movement on record, they all seemed to have two things in common 1) the crushing of the human ego=false self and 2) moving outwards beyond self-serving. Though many find the temporary price too high, and settle back to hollow but comfortable ways, if we persevere, we find that by living a life of spiritual dependence, self-honesty, and a life geared to the service of others, we fall right into that which we had been looking for all along.
I can attest that I went from a life of many, many years of suicidal hopelessness – never knowing who I really was, and in constant anxiety, fear, depression and eventual substance abuse – But with the right instructions and being willing to endure some pain and suffering along the way (wasn’t it Jung who said the root of all mental illness lies in the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering) I found a life that for decades now has been more about joy, serenity, brotherhood, and, amazingly, I backed right into a life of creative purpose that fills me with passion most every day. Mine is really one of those, you can’t get to there from here stories but I am certainly not unique. The only way this could have happened for me is if it were laid out a series of specific actions.. It didn’t matter what I believed, I just had to do, and I found myself and my passion in life. From chasing dollars on Wall Street, in a job that was just that, while along the way, for example, I remembered that when I was a child I wanted a camera for my 5th birthday despite never having any real experience with photography & why I would want that more than the bike I got, I have no idea. And how I dropped a photo class in high school because I wasn’t as certain that I could get an A in such an abstract subject. A better GPA meant better college which meant more $$. I walked right by myself.. Same exact thing happened with writing, there were hints all along but I was chasing other things.
During my turnaround, I did found a business in field (risk management) that isn't exactly known for creativity and it became nationally successful but I found I loved the creativity of inventing new services for clients and helping them solve their problems. I wasn’t just focused on getting more for me and doors opened that could never open and the synchronicity along the way was ridiculous (from appearing on the cover of our main industry magazine the month after President of Best Buy to being in BusinessWeek.. are you kidding). The company became so successful that within 3 years I sold it to a Fortune 500 company and now spend my time – you guessed it – mainly doing writing and photography, mixed in with a heavy dose of trying to give back. This from the person that said I didn’t have a creative bone in my body.. I also thought I was to intelligent to believe in the fairy tale of spirituality as well..
So there you have it in a very big nutshell. I wanted to tell the story because perhaps it will help to find and guide the right person to create a book cover that is truly special. I have been putting this together for many years so it really is my life’s work and that is also why I have been as detailed as I have.. I know I often succumb to buying books just because of the cover and with this picture, I think we could create a book that stands apart from anything around it.. As for specifics, I will be using the first picture uploaded below of “Geese in Fog” which has been an award winning photo of mine that I hope will really set this book apart. What I need is the title and subtitle as well as author “Gary M. Bares” on front cover along with a background that works well with the picture. I am doing hardcopy printing (not digital – not initially at least but should be in flexible format) and book size will be vertical (higher than it is wide which can make Geese picture fitting an issue since that is horizontal – landcape) I picture like 8x11” or whatever size typical hardcover books typically come out as. (I almost feel that with photos and short pieces of writing it could almost be coffee table type book though with Soft Cover – i.e. expensive catalogue type thickness - to keep price down) Inside pages are black and grey with white print. I found that I had to go this route so these bright pictures had a black background as they just wouldn’t pop on a white page..And white print is in dark grey box that is on black page so at least it lightens it a little. I tried so I know what works there.
I also need design to continue on back as well where I will add the usual multi-paragraph book description – reviews etc but this (Also In white print) should be able to be added later on top of design. Or if your design on back is very bold, you could leave space of typical back type on books. I will try to add example or even write up an initial version so you get a sense of how much text there will be on back but if not go with what you see on most books that have long back print sections. Text on front will be white as well.. I will also upload the really crude version of the cover that I designed as I edit the book in Adobe InDesign… I basically just have black background with the Geese picture and the name, title etc in Italicized white print but I am looking for a whole different level here..
One final note, I had included a small excerpt from a poem in book near bottom of cover - you should be able to see on PDF I eventually add of early version of Manuscript (this poem - symbolizes this journey of light and darkness, struggles of night being those difficult times.. and secrets of the night referring to fruits of going through that darkness… May find other short samples that you like but not sure if I should just skip it. I did it somewhat as a filler since I had no design on cover just words and picture) but it's up to designer to determine if that adds or subtracts from the design.. The exact poem fragment is “Shadows softly flowing, Dancing with the light, Content in truly knowing, The secrets of the night” (goes with light and dark of geese pic perfectly as well). I may upload partially finished manuscript in PDF that I have so you can get a feel for this animal of a book, since it’s not a typical fiction, non-fiction etc and you can also see how important the quality/nature of accompanying photography is (**** skip to second part of book as that is best quality - at least page 40 on PDF- From pg 83-102 are absolute best pictures & now that I think of it could you do some kind of faded picture collage on Back Cover}***, This PDFhas been heavily edited since then but this section is closest to end result...
A lot of these photos and poetry, essays can be found on my website http://www.soulcrossing.com which I haven’t been able to edit it 7-8 yrs due to lack of programing skills and I really don’t use it for anything anymore… So you can draw inspiration from either of these sources..
Good Luck. Can't wait to see what you all come up with after seeing other work in this category.