I owe Amy a big thank you for her kind review of my new little book aiming for grace: 20 things I know about diabetes. To be honest, I'm feeling a bit funny about even talking about it. More than anything, making this series of posts into a self published book has been a terrific exercise, a healing process, to be honest. The fact that there's a book that people can have if they'd like, is a very nice result of a personal exercise that's been helpful and positive to me as an individual. Making something from nothing has always really helped me for some reason. A piece of art, a story, a blog post, a book. Taking an idea or feeling from inside and pushing it outward into a real form that I can see and feel has always made sense to me. It's always made hard things less difficult to deal with.
That was the core idea behind the aiming for grace exercise I did a couple of years ago to commemorate my 20th anniversary of living with diabetes. It was so very helpful, 20 posts over a 2 week period. Surprises and revelations that I hadn't expected, confirmation and celebration of what I'd learned so far. It helped so much to see the ideas rather than just think them. Doing the exercise did exactly what I had hoped it would by creating a milestone and documentation of all that I knew so far. It honored my journey for myself.
After doing the exercise on my blog, I decided to make 10 one-off copies and have them bound in a book format to give to my family and friends and doctors, to acknowledge their help in my journey and to thank them for their support. There was something so amazing about take the idea further, from inside my head, onto the blog with it's virtual format I could see, to a book format I could touch and feel. The process somehow made the ideas feel more real to me and just as importantly, it gave the people who received the book a chance to interact with the ideas in a more intimate and personal way. I don't know what it is about books, but there's something about the weight and feel of a story in your hands, physically revealed with each turn of the page, each picture and phrase. Everyone, to the person, commented on how they had learned something more about diabetes because of the book, a result quite frankly I hadn't expected. These were people who knew the disease well or at the very least, knew me well, and yet because of the format, were able to interact and understand diabetes at a different level. Who knew?
Since I went through the exercise of making the one off books, some amazing technology has come to be. In the last couple of years the ability to self publish has become possible in unprecedented and relatively affordable ways. Thanks to services like Blurb, iPhoto book, and Lulu to name a few, it's fairly easy now to publish one's own content in a beautiful, professional way. Each company has a interface that makes it possible to drop your content into their format and then for a price, based on size, number of pages, and whether it's hard or soft cover, they will produce the book for you. Simple as that.
So what's happened is that the insight from my experience with making the aiming for grace exercise into a book has combined with this happy new technology of self publishing and voila, my little book was born. I kept thinking about how people internalized the ideas differently in a book format and I thought that other people might like to have the choice to see the story that way too. All the original content still lives on the site and can be read anytime here. What's fun is that now if someone wants to have it in a swell book format, they can have it that way too.