How the Piece of Cake CD cover came to be…where to start is the question…2013. December of 2013 and we’re all gathered at Lee n Kerri’s place for their annual Christmas party. I had to skip the past three because it was either a chemo week or I was photographing the MLS cup, so I was especially happy to be there.
I remember I was a bit obsessed with the fundraiser for the CD and how we were about 15K shy of our 18K goal and one week left to go. This is when the wheels in my head start churning away like a blender until everything smooths out…what will I have to leave out? How can I work this and still get 10 songs plus a bonus track on it? I’d already promised contributors they’d get a “full length CD with a bonus track”, so I had to deliver. I overheard Ana talking to Nat (who was my housemate for about a year when I first moved back to the area). I drifted in and out of the conversation and the room as I buzzed about making the holiday good wishes rounds.
The next morning I woke up with a clear vision in my head. It was the conversation Ana was having with Nat. This time I heard very clearly “You should really get back into painting. You’re really good and it makes you happy.” I knew exactly what this meant and so I got up immediately and sent Nat a message asking her to design the CD cover. I told her I couldn’t pay her, but I could trade it in VIP passes to the screening event…
She wrote back with an enthusiastic “Yes!” She asked me several questions so that she could pinpoint what I wanted, but what I wanted had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her. I wanted her the friend, the artist, to draw her interpretation of what the song meant. I sent her the lyrics and an MP3 of a rough cut of it (though she’s heard me play it several times at BBQ’s and open mics over the past few years. I asked her to listen to, to read the lyrics and then paint.
The extraordinary image above is what came of that. Some people who don’t know us or the story asked how come there were flowers and not an actual “Piece of cake” on the CD cover, so here is the answer in both parts:
For me: Piece of Cake is an unintentionally tongue in cheek phrase to mean that something accomplished is easy, but it’s also used jokingly to pretend something difficult was indeed easy, “climbing Mount Everest was a piece of cake.”, or “beating stage IV cancer was a piece of cake.” I choose the facetious version. Love and life can be hard or a piece of cake. All depending on your point of view. Given a choice, I will always pick the tongue in cheek version because it’s far more fun and to me, far more true to life.
For Nat: “When I started on the concept, the lyrics ‘it’s too late…’ kept running through my head. And I thought about love.
Then my thoughts turned to a new love long ago, when I was young and naive, and the first time he brought me flowers I had butterflies. The flowers were so pretty and vibrant and had a life of their own, but the stargazer lily brought a moment of regret
It’s scent and sight reminded me of a time and day and place in the past of funeral arrangements and that awkward moment when you realized he thought that the lily was your favorite flower, but my favorite flower was really a daisy…
Simple and lovely, not the elegant, perfumed flower he wanted me to love.
Why didn’t I just speak up and say that my true love was daisies?
I just allowed it to happen and the flowers faded with my memories.
I couldn’t really save them, but I tried. I tried to press them and preserve them
I tried to look at them from time to time, but not the stargazer lily, they’re too big and awkward for any book and they were never really ‘me’ anyway.
If someone asked me what love is, I would say just be yourself.