And the winner is . . .

Despite hanging chads and repeated attempts to install an alternate slate of electors, neither side was able to eke out a clear-cut victory.  The 400 or so votes were split almost exactly down the middle between “the slight smile” photo and “the pensive reflection” photo.  So the issue had to be sent off to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court, which is me.

The decision was not an easy one.  Your comments not only mirrored my own thinking, they amplified and clarified my personal ambivalence because they deepened my own understanding of the limitations and virtues of each image.

In the end your collective thinking can be reduced to this:

The “pensive reflection” image 

This photo has a worthy seriousness that “the slight smile” image lacks.  Perhaps there is a bit too much world weariness in it, but perhaps that world weariness is just a compassionate response to the realities of life. It is a photo of reflection and stillness, both physically and emotionally, and speaks of a resolved, if slightly melancholy, understanding of the world in which we live.  It has a greater gravitas than the slight smile image.

The “slight smile” image

This photo has an animation about it — a slight twinkle that could be seen as an openness to the richness of the human drama, but might also be seen as a slightly ironic smirk.  It is approachable, more outward-looking and more nuanced than the other, but is less resolved emotionally. It speaks of someone whose thinking is in process and is still involved in observation, whereas the other reveals a person who has come to rest around a way of understanding the world.  It has more acceptance and less worry.

In the end, I decided to go with the photo with the slight smile.  There is still some sadness in it, depending on how you look at it, but it has a benign compassion that I like.  And, quite simply, it has a sense of humor. As someone said, it almost has the look of someone withholding a joke.

Truly, if I were doing another book of reflections or meditations I would choose the other photo.  In many ways I actually like it better. But the “slight smile” photo is more complex and shows more presence to the world.  And Lone Dog Road is a book about the world.

I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and insights.  I never expected a response like the one I got.  I wish I could gather you all in a room so you could meet each other.  I would bet that each of you would find someone with whom you could easily become close friends.

Lacking that, all I can do is express my heartfelt appreciation for your continued interest and concern. We may be a bunch of lone dogs, but at least we’re walking our road together.


17 thoughts on “And the winner is . . .”

  1. Yaayyy! You definitely picked the “right” one — just like there’s one and only one right religion, right political party, right diet, right way of loading the dishwasher, etc. etc.

  2. Lynne de Jong-Decker

    YES indeed. We are separate yet walking our road together, with our minds open, and the sun in our hearts.
    Your books have nourished me. Thank you!!!
    Lynne in Vermont

  3. The beauty of this is that we were able to read your perfect summations of what was said about each photo, and we would have happily accepted either choice because you did it so well! Your beautiful writing, always so on target, is why we love reading your work. (I rather like the idea of getting us all together in a room, even though we really are likely a bunch of lone dogs.) 

  4. Gwen Sonnenberg

    The “slight smile” portrait is just that bit more engaging, and says to me, “Oh yeah? I dare you to come on this adventure with me…” Can’t wait!

  5. Both px are really good Kent, but the best for Lone Dog Road is your smile.

    It is one of acceptance, but also an invitation to travel Lone Dog Road.

    The good folks at Tattered Cover in Denver are interested in hosting a signing event for you after publication.

    But they want to hear from you or your publisher. They can be reached thru their website

    They advertise book signings but leave it to the author and publisher in advertisingg to the general population, especially the Native American community.

  6. Thanks for asking us for our opinions. Glad the slight smile won. To be honest it looks like you’re listening to Grover cracking a joke, just out of our sight. Looking forward to the book!

  7. Sharyn McCormick

    Perfect choice! I do not see a “slightly ironic smirk.” What I do see is definite “approachable.” For those of us who are well-acquainted with you, I think we can accurately interpret your expressions, but I realize your goal is to reach a larger audience.

  8. Both pictures are good and I chose the serious one, But I am happy with the smiley picture too.

    Anne Murray221

  9. I think all would agree, it’s fun to be involved.
    So, thanks to you also!
    Sure looking forward to reading the book…

  10. Great choice! The Road is always open to hope and adaptation! Please keep your sale going until feb sometime. I have to wait until then to get the books. Thank you again and again.

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