The idea for our community book project came about last October during a nine month series of memoir-writing classes that I had launched with the PG Public Library. I decided to use current experiences and impressions as themes. The first two classes produced such interesting tales that I was inspired to publish stories from the series in a book, “Life in Pacific Grove,” and to donate all proceeds to the library. In the past five months, the project has taken wing like a Monarch butterfly, thanks to the efforts of many locals and project volunteers.
Endorsements, Covers, Postcards, Posters and More
I am honored to have three well-known community leaders who are lending their names to the project. Mayor Bill Kampe has agreed to write the introduction, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning will write the foreword. PG Chamber President Moe Ammar is lending his endorsement and assistance in reaching our business owners.
Our book cover features the work of local artist Keith Larson, with a colored ink drawing of a stately Victorian, city hall, and the lighthouse. More of Keith’s drawings will appear throughout the book.
Since October, we’ve distributed more than 2,000 bookmarks, posters, book cards, and story-writing forms at the library, at local stores, and by approaching visitors and residents on the streets of PG.
Preserving the Past
Although the emphasis is on true-life tales of the good life in Pacific Grove in this present moment in time, we will preserve our heritage by including several stories of the “good old days.” Our team is interviewing and preserving reminiscences by longtime PG residents, including Wendi Giles, Richard Stillwell, Charlie Higuera, Jayne Gasperson, and others. I need more volunteers to interview these folks. The book will also include the stories and photographs collected by PG Library Circulation Clerk Shelley Nemeth in her series, “Listening to My Elders.”
Honoring the Present
Among the highlights of stories devoted to present-day Pacific Grove will be Phyllis Edwards’ walking tour of the more than 30 PG Little Libraries, featuring Keith Larson’s delightful illustrations. Barbara Kraus, ESL teacher at the PG Adult School, is giving her foreign students—from countries all over the world—the opportunity to write about their PG experiences. She expects to receive and submit around 20 multi-cultural stories for our book.
Our service clubs, nonprofits and senior centers are a vital part of the fabric of our community and I am eager to include their stories. After my presentations to the PG Rotary, Friends of the Library, The Heritage Society and Canterbury Woods, writing workshops are planned and residents and members will be submitting stories of either club activities or of their personal or professional lives. Please contact me at 831/649-6640 if you would like me to speak to your group or conduct a story writing session.
Volunteers Andrea Tavares and Phyllis Edwards will be visiting all PG businesses with offices downtown, in the east Central Avenue district, and up on Forest Hill, beginning April 1. PG Chamber President Moe Ammar is lending his endorsement and assistance in reaching other businesses as well. Visitors are an important part of our community and we want to include their impressions and opinions about PG.
Capturing the Spirit of Our Special Town
I’ll be adding more updates to this column as plans are put in place and word continues to spread. My sincere thanks to the volunteers who are making my dream a reality—and to the cooperation and stories flowing in from the community. A special shout-out to professional editors Joyce Krieg and Nina Solomita, who are donating their time to catch any glitches. And to super-publicist Margie McCurry, who posts to more PG Facebook sites for non-profits than anybody!
I love every day in PG, and so do a lot of other people! Now, when I approach someone I don’t know and introduce myself, more often than not I hear “Oh, yes, I’ve heard about your book.” And they are eager to write their own story. My motto is: “No one left behind and all voices count.”
Tell Your Story Online
Go to LifeinPacificGrove.com and follow the simple directions to tell your own story—to say “I WAS HERE”. If you’d like to get further involved or have questions, PLEASE contact me, Patricia Hamilton, at 831-649-6640, firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be launching the print and e-book versions of “Life in Pacific Grove” on October 6, 2017, at the library during our city-wide Chautauqua Days celebration.
Columnists Patricia Hamilton and Joyce Krieg offer professional book editing and publishing services through Park Place Publications, 591 Lighthouse Ave., PG .