Dispatches from the Head

The new paperback cover.



Shalom, People-

I made it out of my nephew's Bar Mitzvah physically alive but emotionally annihilated. Good times. Nothing like seeing the family to re-introduce you to all the things you’ve been running from in yourself. Hands on, man.

I’ll be at Hilarities in Cleveland this weekend if you are around.

My book ‘Attempting Normal’ comes out in paperback tomorrow. I’m excited about it. It’s a new cover. I like it. I didn’t love the hardback cover but I thought it was fine. I had accepted it. Then I interviewed David Sedaris. He said that when I do the paperback I should make sure they re-think the cover. He loved the book. It was very flattering. He thought the cover of the hardback was too silly. He thought it looked like a comic’s book but it didn’t read like a comic’s book. There are certain expectations out of comic’s memoirs and he thought the essays in my book were more writerly. He thought it was a writer's book and not a comic’s book and that the cover misrepresented it. Again, I was very excited that he felt that way about my book.

Needless to say my editor heard the Sedaris interview and took the discussion to heart. Because in publishing the words of David Sedaris go a long way—to the bank and also in defining the modern comic memoir and how it is presented. Without my knowledge I assume work was feverishly underway at my publisher's to honor the request and suggestion of David Sedaris in reference to my cover. Obviously a cover needs to be eye catching. That is essential but for that cover to relate to and honor the contents of the book is tricky. Some would say unimportant. Once the customer makes the buy it’s really on them. Again, the word of Sedaris isn’t taken lightly. So, after months of what I imagine was brainstorming and sketching and deep thought about how to present my book as something literary as opposed to a silly book written by a stand up comic I was sent the first design and I can only say that when I opened the email and saw this I was dumbfounded and in awe.



I thought it was a practical joke. Even though I didn’t know my editor to be a joker or prankster in any way I thought this was his first attempt and it was a doozy. Then I figured out that the artwork was sent to me in earnest. This was where they went with David’s advice. This was my more literary cover. When I realized that this was the real proposal for the artwork I lost my shit a bit. This is what I wrote to my editor:

“I'll be honest with you. When I first saw the cover I really thought you were making some kind of joke. Like it was a joke cover. That was my first gut reaction. After what Sedaris said publicly about it not coming off like a 'joke' book or a 'comedian' book this is what you guys came up with? Wow.
It's your product. You sell it how you want. I am not on board with this unless someone is really good at persuasion. But, again, it's your product. You guys know how to sell things, right?
Maron”

I couldn’t help myself. I had to send the highly anticipated cover art to Sedaris. It was on his suggestion that they changed it. This is what I wrote to him with the above art attached:

“David-
Thank you so much for continuing to be so supportive of my work. I appreciate it.
Since you inspired some re-thinking regarding my cover. I really thought you should see this.
Enjoy.
Maron
P.S. There is no fucking way this will be the cover.”

This is what he wrote back:

“Dear Marc,
I'm happy to hear that won't be the cover. Too much blue!
Sincerely
David”

I laughed and laughed. What a beautiful comic beat. He is a true fucking genius of wit. Seriously. So, after all was said and done this is the new paperback cover. I love it.



On Monday's show one of my oldest friends in comedy, Todd Barry, talks to me about the days when neither of us could get on stage and about his new special, ‘Crowd Work.' It was great seeing him. It had been a while since we hung out. On Thursday the truly hilarious Karen Kilgariff talks about her journey through standup and writing for the original Ellen show and now musical comedy. She also performs a couple of her genius songs. Great shows this week.

Enjoy!

Boomer lives!


Love,
Maron


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  • 5 Comments


Rizie April 08, 2014 at 1:48 pm


I love the new cover! Who is the artist? This also looks like it could be the cover to a graphic novel in the same vein.

P.S. I LOVE YOU

Travis April 09, 2014 at 2:48 am


Dude, what the fuck? Why are there so few comments on the dispatches? Maron, or someone he pays, goes through so much effort for what? 1, 2, a handful of comments - maybe. I remember back in the MS days when John Crimmings would post an opener for the show and bam!!! Comments galore. Maron needs comment-provocateurs to light this bitch up or something. Hell, he can even pay me to have multiple aliases, and I’ll converse with myself to make it look like it’s fun to hang here.

haha April 09, 2014 at 2:29 pm


thanks for sharing. sedaris’ reply was too funny!

Benjamin April 11, 2014 at 10:31 am


The one with the cat version of you is absolutely abysmal, Marc. Zero thought went into it. It’s just completely awful and lazy. I bet the guy put it together on MS Paint while he was taking a shit and after he was done he said out loud: “That’ll do. Fuck that guy.” I’m surprised he didn’t type your first name with a “K” at the end.

I really love the new, official cover though. Sedaris’ retort is hysterical.

Btw LOVED your book.

Meredith Lee May 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm


I am with Travis. First, I want to know who is actually writing them. Then, I would like to proceed by thinking about that information.