The Story of the Book Cover! Have You Ever Seen Someone Have A Seizure?

It is easy to take for granted that anyone who sees the cover of Epilepsy Unveiled will know whose head they are seeing, but I know that is not true. FYI: That is Charley.  Well, not all of Charley.  He did have a body that included arms, legs, and all those normal things that men have on their bodies.  But since Charley’s misfiring brain (that was within that head) ran our life for 26 years that image ironically emerged on the front cover of Epilepsy Unveiled.  Once a star always a star I suppose.

When it came time to have a website built and the book cover designed I had no clue where to turn. I started emailing different companies to get an idea of price and design. I heard back from Jason who owns Amarillo Graphics ( Jason had also had brain surgery and took a special interest in Epilepsy Unveiled.

The last chapter of the book has a description Charley wrote in 1991 of how having an aura and seizure felt.  I sent Charley’s description to Jason and asked him to create a cover by drawing Charley’s words.  At that time I had an idea of what I wanted on the cover based on the visual Charley’s description provided for me.  I have never had an artistic bone in my body so my idea was very basic and really blah (but still good to me).  Jason created the cover I thought I wanted and sent me the design.  I wanted to add many details to what he had drawn and I think at that point Jason realized he better take the reins out of my hands and start driving this cover or he would not be happy with the final outcome.

That night Jason sat down and became artistic.  I believe Charley’s spirit was there too. The next morning Jason sent the cover design and explained that less is more.  I did not dislike the cover but I was not real enthused either.  I thought Charley’s face looked dirty and I did not understand what Jason had drawn. When Jason explained the details of the art I realized we made a good team.  I describe Charley’s epilepsy with my words within Epilepsy Unveiled.  Jason used Charley’s words to create a portrait of what Charley felt as seizures were overtaking his being.  The statement made by Charley’s image says more than I ever imagined a book cover could.

Charley described feeling an out-of-body sensation like he was hanging from a light fixture and watching everyone in the room as he had a seizure. That is what his head “hanging” at the top of the cover portrays. He said seizures felt like the darkness overcoming the earth at dusk and that is the reason for the gray that is overcoming one side of his face and forehead.  Charley described an aura as seeing something that has multi-outlines like rings in water that has something dropped in it.  The hands of darkness on the cover are holding a pool of water and Charley’s reflection can be seen in the pool as the seizure is overcoming him. He is melting into the pool as a seizure begins to overtake him as is signified by the wet effect on his face and water dripping into the pool that creates rings in the water.

The entire time Jason was designing the cover something kept telling him to include a turtle which he thought was really bizarre.  He included the turtle because the message he was getting was so strong. When I saw the first design I nearly fell over because during the years Charley and I were together I collected turtles.  Charley wanted me to know that he was a part of the cover design and I’m sure his spirit pestered the snot out of Jason until the turtle was included.  Symbolically, the hands of darkness pinning the turtle down represents the fact that epilepsy and seizures trapped Charley and I.

The back cover has a spirit with open arms and free hands and the turtle is walking away.  After Charley’s brain surgery, with many difficult adjustments, we walked away from seizures. I like to think of that freedom as the life Charley’s spirit now enjoys; roaming, happy and mischievous as always.

When Charley was alive he really did not like for anyone to see him have seizures. I believe now he would be glad to share the image on the cover of Epilepsy Unveiled for the sake of helping others understand epilepsy.  Before you ever open Epilepsy Unveiled and begin reading you can visually experience what it felt like for Charley to have a seizure.  Welcome to our world!


About Lola Jines-Burritt