I am constantly surprised by the things I don’t know. There are so many of them, the list is endless, infinite, and really, really long. Like the Janko keyboard I used for the cover of Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium. When I searched online for a weird piano keyboard that matched the one I was seeing on the Metaphonium, I found the Janko piano made in 1882. Awesome. What I still didn’t know is the Janko keyboard is still being produced and played. So cool. I reached into the world of the unknown and pulled out a cool piano. Nice. Enjoy this video!
I just finished the storyline (7k words of plot) for the next Orville Mouse book, Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Last Metaphonium. So I sat down and designed the cover. I’m retired, but I was a graphic designer and artist for over 35 years. I wanted the Metaphonium to be on the cover, and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like (I describe it at the end of Capricious Shadows) but how to create one? I wanted it to have a half dozen rows of keys, but not normal piano keys, they had to be oddly shaped. I went on line and found a very strange piano made in the 1880s called the Janko keyboard. EXACTLY what I was looking for!! Have to wonder about that… but I digress. After I found the Janko keyboard I did a search for brass dials, old wooden doors, glass tubing, and a bunch of other little design elements. Two days later I had the final cover.
I’ve often said the things we take for granted prove to be the most interesting. The idea that a bird gets smaller and smaller as it flies away from us, eventually just blinking into nothingness. Curious illusion. Let’s think about dreams. We’ve all had them, we all know what they are. In my dream I’m running through a meadow filled with glorious wildflowers on a sparkling summer day. Lovely. I turn around to check on the huffing grizzly bear who’s pounding after me. Okay, too stressful, let’s ditch the grizzly bear, there’s just a beautiful broad meadow, wildflowers, and snow capped mountain peaks in the distance. Done and done. Then I wake up and think, “Oh, pish posh, that wasn’t even real, it was all in my head.” Then I think, “Wait a minute, how could a huge sunny meadow and a mountain range fit inside my head?” Silly, right? But how does that work, exactly? In the dream I am experiencing a lovely meadow and a vast mountain range. It’s there, I see it, I feel it, but when I wake up I realize the three dimensional space I was experiencing did not really exist, it was all thought, only an illusion. Then I step outside my front door in Anchorage Alaska and gaze up at the beautiful snow capped Chugach mountains. They seem so real. So very real.