For the last few years, my mother has written essays about her childhood, and I've edited and published them on my website. These captivating looks at life in the Roaring Twenties and pre-World War II Thirties have afforded me the opportunity to see my mother as the child she was and understand the forces that shaped her.
I published the essays on Memory Lane, a page I set up on my web site. This past summer, I finally fulfilled a promise to her and set up The Website of Lucille Dickinson Ainsworth. Now I publish her slice-of-life essays there, but the time has come to fulfill another promise I made to her - to publish all her essays in book form. (My mother has a way of getting me to make these rash promises.)
I started last week by studying all the POD venues out there and selected Lulu as the one that would be the easiest to use. Not only is it easy to use, but also if I use only their basic services, it's FREE. Free is a big selling point. Plus, I have a friend Ralph Neal Hansonwho just used Lulu to publish Flashback To The Golden Years 1940-1960, written at his daughter's request. So I can bug Ralph if I can't figure something out.
Since I'm mainly doing this as a labor of love for my mom who will give or sell copies to family and friends, I'm going to use the free services since we don't want to pay any fees up front which means it won't be available on Amazon and the like. It will be available only on the Lulu site.
Still, I regret the lack of a wider audience because I think about some of the events she describes, and I know there would be more readers interested than just her family and friends. Who you may well ask? Why those who need or want to know about life during that era or people who also lived during that time and want to vicariously stroll down Memory Lane. Perhaps writers too?
My mom was the only child of parents who were in their forties when they married. Her parents were born in the 1880s so she actually spans two centuries in attitudes and opinions. She comes from a family of storytellers. I can remember my grandfather who lived to be a hundred telling about seeing Annie Oakley in a wild west show when he was a kid.
My mom has an absolutely amazing memory. She's compiled several enormous books of genealogy, and her books are in the genealogy sections of libraries like the Mormon Library and the New York City Public Library. She can recall with such detail how her mother kept house, did laundry, cooked, sewed clothes, and other laborious chores. This was in rural Louisiana where most people still lived without electricity and indoor bathrooms. Soap was homemade, and laundry involved boiling clothes in a cast iron pot outside.
Mom tells about how her father and the neighbors would gather together on a crisp autumn day to butcher hogs in order to have meat through the winter. Hog Killing Time was definitely educational. By the time she was grown and married and had children, times had changed. Thank goodness! I don't think I'd have liked the nearly pioneer existence people lived when she was a child.
She talks about Huey Long and his equally flamboyant brother Earl, about outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, and so much more. These are her memories which I'll compile and edit in MEMORY LANE: My Sentimental Journey by Lucille Dickinson Ainsworth. She considers all those memories wonderful still no matter how primitive they may be to us of today's world.
So it now falls to me to learn all about Lulu and how to go about this self-publishing POD. Naturally, I like to pass along things I learn so I thought this would be a great blog series.
As I learn how to navigate the POD world, I'll pass on to you the knowledge that I've gained. Who knows? Maybe you too have a mom or dad or grandparents who'd like to see their memoirs in print.
Stay tuned tomorrow for POD: Part 1.
Sling Words out.