My Big, Fat, Cuban Family - The Book.

One of the reasons I started blogging was for my posterity (which is just a fancy way of saying "future generations.")

But let me tell you why...

I am blessed with having my 95 year old mother still around with her mind still sharp and her enthusiasm for life (and my projects) still intact.

That was not the case for her. She left Cuba and her beloved mother, my grandmother, at the age of 47, never to see her again. She often says that if she had known that she might not have made the decision to leave. I think that because of the pain this caused her, there are memories she just refuses to access. It makes me sad.

What we left in Cuba, besides a tight-knit extended family and our home, was the minutia of day-to-day life. All the simple, yet important things that illustrate our existence.

My mom tells stories, not just of people, but of places I may never see. Also, of things, like my grandmother's stove, or her collection of placemats - 52 sets - one for each week of the year, or of a teacup that was in her great-aunt's collection of antique china.

I think that growing up hearing these things made me aware of a greater loss. There are entire lives that were lost. By that I mean that in our need to move forward and assimilate, not to mention the pain involved in remembering, that our celebration of the everyday was muddied. I feel that acutely sometimes.

I have a few things that have family history attached: my grandmother's sewing box, a bedspread crocheted by a great aunt. I insisted that my mom write down (in her own handwriting) the significance of each item on a notecard.

Because documenting these things has become so important to me, I have become by default the Family Historian.

It seems that in this 21st Century, blogging is the natural way to record and capture the day-to-day, the celebrations, the minutia, if you will, of our lives.

My friend, the class factotum, (whom you met the other day) lost years of her blogging and hence the documentation of her memories to a crummy now-defunct blog platform. And I thought how much I'd hate to lose all these hundreds of hours of blogging, so I've been looking for a way to preserve my blog, again for posterity. =D

I have been thinking I would just copy and paste each entry into Word and try to find the pictures and well, you can see that this was turning into a not-so-fun project. Then I toyed with the idea of re-creating each page in Photoshop. I could totally do that, but umm.. no. Frankly it was much more of a pain than I wanted it to be.

(Yes, it's me. It's got to be fun, okay?)

So, I've been mulling this idea over and wrestling with the how-to of turning my blog into a book. While I was on Facebook the other day I saw an ad for SharedBook Blog2Print in the sidebar. I compulsively clicked on the link and within minutes I had uploaded My big, fat, Cuban family, Volume One - from October 1st, 2006 to September 30, 2007 - into a big, fat 400 page memory book. 

(I wish they were paying me for this glowing product endorsement, but they're not. Sad!)

Blog book 

I didn't have much creative control, which, for this particular project, I was okay with. I put aside my perfectionism issues and just went with it.

I love that all I had to do was choose the time frame and add my blog header to the front. The program created the Table of Contents automatically and slurped the entries into the book one after the other, automatically paginating as it went. (Anal-Retentive Me would rather have one neat entry per page, but that's not important right now.)

Blog book contents 

Blog book pages 

There was a spot to add a picture to the back and so I did that and hit the "order" button.

Blog book back cover 

I just received the finished product and can I just tell you how pleased I am with the outcome. But I couldn't help but wish that I had something like this from my grandmother. Or my mom. Or my dad. But, happily, I have included many of their stories on my blog.

And now in this Big, Fat, Cuban Family Blog Book. (I'm ordering Volume Two as we speak.)

No, it's not for sale. It's just for me.

And my posterity. ;-)