Remember The Little Engine That Could? Wasn’t that the name of the well known children’s book?
I call my memoir, Seven Thin Dimes, “The Little Book That Could”, because I never intended to publish it and I’ve done almost no marketing of it, yet it sells here and there with a few good reviews. I wonder what my grandmother would think if she were here.
Seven Thin Dimes was originally “In My Grandmother’s House”, a book of essays I wrote as a gift to my family after my grandmother died in 1991. My Uncle Wayne insisted for 20 years I should publish it but I wouldn’t. Finally, after sending it to my editor, Annie Cosby, and getting some good feedback, I thought I’d just slide it out there and see what happened. But there were so many children’s books with the same name, that naming the book became a struggle.
For weeks, my cousin, Jill, and I came up with new names – In Esther’s House (Grandma’s name was Esther) was one of many. Finally, I picked my favorite essay in the book, the one that makes me laugh and cry and plants me firmly in one of the happiest times of my childhood. Seven Thin Dimes is my favorite part of the book and a quick search showed no other books with this name so I told Jill “this is it and I’m going forward”. But only after I had Jill’s blessing because two of the essays – Aunt Marty’s House and Greg – are about her mother and her brother, Greg, my cousin who died far too young of a brain tumor at age 37.
I watch, with fondness and amusement, as people from towns where I don’t know a soul, buy my little book. I hope it brings them the deep sense of belonging laced with nostalgia that it does for me!