Do you answer your phone when you don’t recognize the number?

I have to say, I generally don’t. But, sometimes, when my intuition tells me I need to pick it up, I do.

“Is this Rebecca Gold?” 
the man’s voice asked.
“It is. Who is this?”
“My name is Rick Arrighi,” 
he said. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
I held my breath.  “I know who you are,” 
I said. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Rick’s wife, Cindy, was a student-turned-friend of mine. She was a member in my first Mat to Memoir writing group working on her memoir. Sadly, Cindy passed away a few years ago from a rare form of cancer.

“Thank you,” he said. “I’m calling because I just saw the cover of your upcoming book.”

Uh oh, I thought. Stop the press.

Back story:
When my publisher told me it was time to choose a cover for my upcoming book From Your Mat to Your Memoir: Creating a Yogic Writing practice to find and write your life stories,” they sent me several images they thought would work. Mostly they were women typing on a laptop, with a cup of tea nearby. I didn’t resonate with any of them, and I asked if I could choose a photo of my own. One that would capture not the act of writing, but rather the joy and the peace when the writing comes from within. That is essentially what my book is about, and it was important to me that the cover photo reflect that.

I thought about the first Mat to Memoir retreat I offered several years ago at All That Matters yoga studio in Rhode Island. It was a magical day of yoga, meditation and writing. Participants shared beautiful stories that bubbled to the surface after each yogic practice. My friend Kim Fuller was there, and took several photos throughout the day. I decided to scroll through those photos and see what I had.

One photo stood out above the rest. Cindy Arrighi, resting on her mat, with her beautiful gray hair flowing, her hands in a gentle embrace, her pen and journal by her side.

There it was, the essence of Yogic Writing. 

From Your Mat to Your Memoir, Cindy Arrighi cover

I knew immediately that this should be the cover of my book.

After getting permission from Kim Fuller, the photographer, I contacted Cindy’s daughter, Tanya. I sent her the photo, just to be sure she was ok with it. I didn’t want it to trigger her in a negative way.  Luckily, she loved the idea and thought it would be a beautiful way to memorialize her beloved mom.

But… I hadn’t thought about contacting Cindy’s husband. Apparently, Tanya had.

My mind raced through negative thoughts at lightning speed. He’s upset because I didn’t ask him for permission. He doesn’t like the photo. He can’t bear the thought of seeing his deceased wife on the cover of a book. How could I have done this without checking in with him first?!  The book is now in production. Will I need to stop the press?!

Rick continued. “I just wanted you to know how much it means to me that you used a photo of my beautiful Cindy on the cover.”

My entire body breathed a sigh of relief.

“You know,” he said. “She always wanted to be a writer. She…”
“Rick,” I stopped him. “Cindy WAS a writer.”

I could hear him start to cry.

“She wrote every week,” I continued. “With courage and vulnerability and resilience, the same way she lived her life. I loved that about her.” 

“I loved that about her, too,” he said softly.  “And now I get to look at that beautiful photo on your book. I miss her hair!” He said, with a soft laugh.

“Yeah,” I said, “We all wanted that hair!”

“Y’know,”  he continued. “When Cindy and I first started dating, she used to color her hair every couple of weeks. At one point, I said, stop coloring your hair! Let it go natural. And so she did. And look how gorgeous it turned out.”

Side note: In my last blog post, I talked about whether or not I should let my hair go gray. Well, I think I just made up my mind. 

So, that’s my cover story.
My beautiful friend, with her beautiful hair, in that beautiful pose, resting in peace.