In 2012, the short story cover world was rocked by the landslide of hype surrounding Stone. Little was known about the cover model at the time and up until now, the life of the most recognizable rock in online book stores remained a mystery.
"I was as surprised as anyone by my overnight success," Stone confided during our recent conversation. "I mean, when I first considered modelling, nobody believed inanimate objects could hold their own on a book cover. It just wasn't done. Then to be chosen from all the other bits of gravel in Elizabeth Munro's yard felt like winning the lottery. I was overwhelmed. I mean really, for a half ounce of misshapen heart shaped gravel there aren't a lot of opportunities."
"I knew I had so much more to give but the pressure of type-casting exists even in the cover modelling world. You'd think a simple rock doesn't do much. You'd think you're one human footfall away from the bottom layer of the garden path but you'd be wrong. So much happened around me and I knew that given the chance, I could prove myself."
|Newspaper coverage, September 1, 2016|
The downside to Stone's success hit home. He was flooded with requests for horror covers, chocolate sauce advertisements and construction products. Money and fast toys became an obsession.
Then, after turning down big name product placement offers from bigger name agencies, Stone withdrew. He spent the next few years in the change pouch of a ladies wallet. Following a trip to San Francisco last summer, the wallet was replaced and Stone found himself with few options as he hit rock bottom. Though nobody was badly injured, the incident was a wake-up call.
|The Treasure Box|
"It was then I decided to take the first chance I could to make my life and career into what I wanted. The first hint of change came when I relocated to what I fondly call The Treasure Box. It redefined my existence. These objects Munro holds in the highest esteem taught me the humbling life lessons I couldn't have benefited from on the figurative pity-potty of that old wallet."
Stone struggled to explain the impact of life in The Treasure Box and said even putting his gratitude into words prompted feelings that shook him to his bedrock.
"The cufflinks were simply thankful they were together even though kids these days don't know what the hell they are. A necklace made by a child and too small for Munro to ever wear taught me what it feels like to realize unconditional love. Even the American coins in their Canadian home and lone earrings found a place of belonging beneath the soft purple tissue ceiling of The Treasure Box."
|Keepin' it real with old friends.|
Stone keeps in touch with friends now and is a regular at weekend football games. Moments like these help cement the confidence his modelling requires with the unassuming rock he was just half a decade ago.
|Dead heading Petunias|
"I'm turning new experiences such as gardening and boating into opportunities to grow my portfolio."
|Relaxing in the plastic-bottomed boat|
"Collaboration comes out of the blue, literally. It's amazing how something as simple a souvenir snap turns into the creative chance of a lifetime! Since Cherry Tree and I met a few weeks ago, we've become more than friends and spend our quiet evenings going over photographs for our coffee table book 'Trees in Reflections.'"
What's next for Stone? Even he is light on specifics. In spite of the candid moments he shared Stone keeps much "close as quartz" as he puts it. With a new focus on the future and the solid grounding of support of friends and family he's putting his experience into actions. He's laid the foundation of a mentorship program pairing inanimate modelling veterans with those new to the business.
"What's next?" Though I posed this question several times to be met with stoney silence I tried one more time as I rose to leave.
"Who knows," Stone winked. "Perhaps a naughty firehose calendar."
Could the world's most well known inanimate cover model be joking? Only time will tell.