Don't you love the cover of Seeking the Center? I do. It's got so much texture, with close-up intensity but also a sense of distance that pulls you in. The dark ice bristles with cold but the rosy clouds give a hint of romance, which is appropriate to the story. And it's open-ended, leaving us free to imagine.

 "Pond Hockey" © Mike Wilkinson

"Pond Hockey" © Mike Wilkinson

I'm very happy with it. But it wasn't what I initially envisioned for the cover of Seeking the Center. What I wanted was Agnes in her element, dangling a puck on some frozen pond, showing off some flashy hockey moves. I wanted to see a woman, not playing a structured game in full gear, but, rather, just having some fun, outside, maybe by herself, or maybe with a friend or two. It didn't seem like too much to ask, honestly -- especially considering that the internet is absolutely overflowing with pictures of men doing these things. 

But as it turns out, pictures of pond hockey women are nearly non-existent. Don't get me wrong, I found quite a few photos of women playing in pond hockey competitions, and in college or prep school games, but that's not what Seeking is about. I came across photos of younger girls playing with their dads or siblings, and to be fair, an occasional shot of a casual female pond hockey skater over the age of 12, but there was always some issue with it -- for example, giant snow-capped mountains in the background. (Uh, in Saskatchewan? I don't think so.) Or, the woman was old enough to be Agnes's kookum. Or, she's wearing figure skates. And there were so very few of these images to choose from!

Trust me: I spent hours and hours searching on every keyword and combination of keywords I could think of. If I'd have been looking for an image of a guy I would have had dozens to choose from. But in the end I came up with nothing.

What's up with this? Do women not skate in the great outdoors? Do they just not bring their cameras when they do? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?