Opening reception at the Vermont Folklife Center.
Yesterday I spoke for the first time with Val Perry of the Bloomingdale Writers' Connection in Florida. Val contacted me after seeing our exhibit at the Vermont Folklife Center, and we spoke for an hour; we could have spoken for another hour if I hadn't been late for a date with my sister at the Berlin Park & Ride. Anyway, Val's group has been thinking about publishing an anthology, and she had some questions for me about how we did ours. I told her that we used an online print-on-demand publisher (in our case, CreateSpace.com), and that we raised the money through Kickstarter.com and old-fashioned fund-raising. The Vermont Community Foundation and the Lamson Howell Foundation gave us a substantial portion of our funding, and the rest was donated by individuals and small businesses in the community. Donors saw great value in our project as a means of building community and preserving local and family history. To read about our Kickstarter campaign, click here.
We are selling the anthology through our local independent bookstore, Bud & Bella's, and at book-signings, workshops, and online through out blog (click on the cover image at the top of our home page and it will take you to Amazon.com.) The proceeds are helping us continue and expand our memoir-writing project. The greatest rewards are personal, though. To give you an idea, here is the beginning of a piece my mother began writing the day after the book-signing at Bud & Bella's:
The room is very crowded. A little bell sounds as the door opens and closes, opens and closes. Our audience is beginning to stand as all the chairs are taken, and some are even sitting on the floor. The room is becoming warm, even though we are seated where we get cool air from outside when the door opens and closes, opens and closes. How very rewarding. This is my first time as author-presenter-autograph signer and I couldn't imagine that there would be more than a token number of family members and close friends. Instead, we are overwhelmed, if not over-run. A small group of octogenarians are ready to read excerpts from the anthology the Hale Street Gang has recently published, our very first. I'm one of the group, one of those who will be reading. In fact, I am the first reader.
Our large audience is very appreciative. No one leaves before we have finished reading. They buy a number of copies of our anthology, The Hale Street Gang: In Cahoots; make complimentary remarks about it as they get their copies autographed; and leave me feeling happy, although exhausted after only two hours of exertion that couldn't be much less demanding.
Now that I am in my ninetieth year (I like to put it that way instead of just saying I'm 89), my participation in the Hale Street Gang is one of the most pleasurable activities in my limited repertoire of activities. Thank you, Hale Street Gang, thank you daughter Sara for providing us with the necessary leadership, thank you, Jack Rowell, for your wonderful photography and for all you have done to further this project, and thank you to many others who have contributed their help and support, including financial support. I'm inclined to think that the writers' group is running neck and neck with two other favorite activities: reading, and visiting with family and close friends (not too many at a time).
Ruth Demarest-Godfrey, Idora Tucker, Nancy Rice.