There's More to Writing a Book than just Writing a Book!
It’s been a while, (November of 2017 actually) since I last wrote a blog post. For a long time now, I’ve been reading memoirs. Many were books I had on my shelves. I found Ursula Le Guin’s last book, No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters, inspiring and captivating. It’s a compilation of her essays and blog posts published in 2017. Indeed she had little time to spare as she died in January of 2018. Her voice is straight forward and no nonsense. She gave me the courage to write a new blog post.
I’ve been busy writing and revising my memoir, Detroit Kids Unravel the Past, and dealing with a few challenges of aging. I celebrated my 84th birthday in January of 2018, and a month later, in February I submitted my memoir of 83,000 words to the Fifth Avenue Press of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They are a new publishing imprint of the Ann Arbor District Library, locally focused and publicly owned. They are dedicated to supporting the local writing community by promoting the production of original fiction, non fiction and poetry written for children, teens and adults
They accepted my manuscript for publication and the process is underway, much to my delight, along with some unease. I am gradually learning more as I try to visualize what the actual book will look like. What do I want on the cover? Long ago, I picked out a photograph of my Mama with all four of the Loewenhardt children taken in about 1942 in Palmer Park. But there are other possibilities too. Perhaps the wedding portrait of my parents, Herman and Elizabeth, or a collage of my Netherlands relatives. Then there is the type of paper to think about; what color, white or natural? What weight? What font size and type? What about page headings? Samples help me choose, and I peruse many books from my shelves to help me decide what my book should look like. It’s a whole new world of choices to think about and imagine. In addition I have to upload family photos to be used in the book. Working with an editor is also part of the process, as well as writing acknowledgements. I have favorite quotes, chosen months ago, that I’ll use in the book. I want to include maps of places in the Netherlands and Germany where my extended family lived or lives. I also want to include a family tree because feedback given by those who have read drafts tell me that all the names and dates are confusing.
For now, I am happily immersed in the process and rely on the staff of the Fifth Avenue Press to show me the way.
*The title is a quote from Vivian Howard, Chef and author of the cookbook titled Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South. I heard her say this in her program, A Chef’s Life, which I enjoy watching on public televison.