Saturday, September 22, 2012
No wonder I'm 70 something and still haven't published a book! It's a lot of work. When I started this project I had little idea what I was getting into. Some years back I began writing stories about my childhood, growing up in a small Barrio in Modesto, California during the 40s and 50s with no real direction. I began reading them for audiences and got enthusiastic responses from them.
In a few years, I had some 15 or so stories and a large collection of poems but still no real order to them all. When my E-Buddy, William Snyder, recently published his book "The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son", I bought and read a copy and laughed all the way through it! His stories of a childhood growing up in Los Angeles sounded so much like mine! If he could do it, so could I!
Bill, by the way, has been one of my most ardent Chican-izmo fans and has constantly urged me to publish a book, so in part, I owe the effort to him. Putting the stories into some kind of cohesive order was the first step. They were not in chronological order, but on a closer look, I began to see that they kind of were. So that took a lot of time. As that began to happen, I noted gaps in the stories, holes that need to be filled in so I wrote new stories to fill them. Now a definite chronology began to emerge.
But the real killer has been the editing! I began ambitiously attacking the grammar, punctuation and sentence structures and soon got caught up in the style, the tone, adding a detail here and there, deleting wordy and repititious structures, again and again, and soon I became mired! When does it end? When is a story finished?
I am self-publishing through an online company Bill referred to me. So far, they have been quite easy to work with. Evidently, Indie books are the coming thing. Self-publishing is a bit like paying someone to tell you they love you, shameless, and a little self serving but what the hell.
I can't tell you how many times I have told someone "I want to write a book, some day." To the point where I was saying it just so people wouldn't think I was just another lazy artist. It appears that soon I will be able to actually say "Oh, by the way, I'm an author." Sounds good, huh?
My book attempts to capture the life of Mexican immigrants finding their way in a foreign world, their hopes, their dreams, their tragedies and and especially, their triumphs. I am hoping it will be available in November, and I will keep you abreast of that in future posts.
By the way, the image on the cover of the book is a from an old black and white photo of me when I was a about five, with my dog, Skippy, the grinning dog. There is a complimentary story of him in the book.