Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Grandma's Purse - 2014

We had a reading of  a special book at our house yesterday, but before I share pictures of that event, I must fill in some background details about the origins of this book.

I posted this blog back in 2005, and it gives you some of the information, so go read that first, and then come back here for the rest of the story.   Angels and Shining Stars

No peeking....go read the other blog and then come back.

OK, now that you have grabbed a tissue or two, and your eyes are clear of tears, let's continue...

After Elisabeth died, my sister spiraled down into a deep depression, and art was one thing she could run away into to find some relief from the pain of loss. She picked up a pen and a paint brush and wrote and illustrated a children's story about Elisabeth and Mom.   All the pictures are original  8x10 watercolours, and the story is written in verse.

My mother will always be remember for her purse.  We laughed about it as kids, and continue to do so to this day.  When I or my sister are rummaging around in our purses for something now,  we look at each other and laugh... OMG we are turning into mom!

Mom didn't go anywhere without her purse, and it was full of wondrous things.   If you needed something, she more than likely had that item tucked away in there.  When she came to visit, she carried clean underwear in her purse, just in case her other luggage got lost.  So you will see in the book, that most of items listed there were actually in her purse at one time or another.  Even the pork chop!  That story is for another blog though.

After a few years, my sister took the book to a few publishers, but the publishing business is very hard to break into, so the original watercolour pictures and written verse sat in a file folder in a drawer for years.  I decided that the family and a few close friends had to have a copy of the book, so John scanned the pictures into the computer, made up a few titles pages, and printed off a few copies for me.  I made construction paper covers in the shape of a purse, stapled pages and covers together, and gave them to family members.

This is the first one I made, and I improved the design with each additional book, but I gave all the others away, so this is the only one I have left to take a picture of.   At least it gives you the idea and sort of looks like a purse.
Title page - original size 81/2 x 11

Dedication page

These little characters are hidden on every page of the book.

Sample of one of the watercolour pictures.   Can you find the angel and the mouse?

Another sample of  one of the  19 fabulous illustrations in the book.  Look for the angel and mouse here too.
 Yesterday I gave Danica my copy of the book to read, and she and JJ were enthralled with it.  She took it to school today to show her teacher, and ask if she could read it to the class, and tell them the story of her Great-Grandma Pearl, and her cousin  Elisabeth.

Danica reading to JJ

Each page ends with a question, so here the kids are trying to figure out the next item  Grandma finds in her purse.
Searching for the mouse and angel on each page.

I continue to hope that a publisher accepts the book one day, and we can share this fabulous work of art far and wide.  Above is a short video clip of Dani reading to JJ. 


Regenia said...

Oh Sue, what a touching post! And such wisdom to share. I will be praying for your sister. What a beautiful, beautiful book. "Grandma's Purse" DOES need to be published. Something that precious needs to be handed down to Danica's generation. It needs to be in a library for other children to read. It needs to be read to grieving children so they know someone else lost their grandma. Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Tissues over here.

I still miss Elisabeth, too. None of the usual words when someone passes away quite work. Heartbreaking, tragic--they're too weak. I think it's a real testament to her whole family that they are thriving now.

Do you suppose there is a copy of that book for Frances and me?

Cuppa said...

Regenia - Thanks for the kind words. This book is a family treasure, and we continue to hope that it gets published one day.

Andrea - I don't have any books made up right now, but I will put one together for you, and drop it in the mail as soon as I can.
We are heading up to Riverwood for an autumn holiday and I don't know if I will get it done before we leave, but will try. If not, it will be the first thing on my "to-do" list when I get home.

Anonymous said...

No rush! Whenever you have the time would be fine. And thank you. :)

Have a great time and Riverwood, and please say hi to everyone for me.

Cuppa said...

Andrea - enjoyed a quiet morning at home today...so....the book is done and will be on its way to you later today.

Hilary said...

I'm so sorry for your family's tragic losses. No matter how much time passes, the ache persists. Mostly, it's about how that time is filled, and your sister has certainly decided to celebrate life with this beautiful book. Your nephew is a wise soul, also.

You and your sister both have a great flair for writing and clearly, you are both very creative.

Living with a published writer, I know how difficult it is to break into the business. An agent would certainly help your sister's cause greatly.

On the other side, have you or your sister considered self-publishing (aside from the beautifully creative way that you publish each issue for family)? There are a few highly reputable printers out there who do a marvelous job of putting a quality book into print. And it's print-on-demand so you're only paying for as many copies as you desire. And you can go back and purchase them at anytime after that. It could be promoted - or not. You maintain control of the process.

Anyway, it's just a thought and not one that undermines the beautiful job you've done of compiling the book for others. The self-publisher I'd recommend (I've used it and am happy with the outcome) is Lulu.com.

Cuppa said...

Hilary - thanks for stopping by. It's always nice to visit with a new friend.
I'll pass your comments along to my sister about Lulu.com. This book shouldn't be sitting in a drawer. It needs to be on library shelves everywhere!
When she looked into publishers many years ago, she kept hitting brick walls. How discouraging to discover that it is almost as hard to find an agent as it is to get a publisher to look seriously at a book.
We live in hope though.

Hilary said...

Cuppa, my partner, Frank is out fishing right now but when he returns, I'll have him forward to me (and then I'll pass it along to John) information about publishing that everyone should know before endeavouing to contact anyone. There are many pitfalls out there.. phony publishers who just take the money and run (money should never be paid out.. unless of course you're self-publishing). There's an absolute process to follow, and it differs for each publisher. It's important to know those things before promoting the book.

My cousin is in the process of submitting a novel and Frank sent her a number of very helpful links which I'd be happy to pass along to you, for your sister, via AC, if you wish - since I do not see your email address anywhere on your own blog.

It's a lovely story concept and I agree that it should be on shelves for kidlets to read.

Lorna said...

I can't wait to see it, and to know the backstory is so touching.

Cuppa said...

Lorna - I look forward to sharing the book with you. It is just about time for you to head this way for a visit, so let's try to set a date.
We will be heading up to Riverwood next week, for a wekk or so. When we get home we have company from Nova Scotia dropping by for a visit. When they leave, we are going to set off again to visit family in Peterborough and Toronto. After that flurry of travel, we will be hunkering down here near the end of October. Let's try to set a date for early November.

MARY G said...

How beautiful. The story and the paintings.

Anonymous said...

We got it safely, Aunt Sue. Thank you so much! It's lovely.

Cuppa said...

Andrea - glad it arrived safe and sound. It is a delightful book isn't it. I was happy to make a copy for you. Hugs AS