Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Memory Book Project: Writers Wanted

I've been toying with the idea of writing book for awhile (because apparently I don't have enough to do!) but have never had an idea that was good enough for me to follow through with. I didn't want to write an instructional book, there seemed to be plenty of those. I didn't just want to have an art book with images of my paintings since I wanted a broader audience, although I liked the idea of my artwork being a key component of the book. I've contemplated writing and illustrating a children's book for awhile, and may still do that at a later date, but this is not the time. So I started thinking in the realm of a coffee table book but I wanted something with a bit more substance. I think I finally came up with something that I could really be passionate enough about to actually get this project done.

Many of my recent paintings are based on found or purchased old photographs, memories from other people's past. It has always saddened me to think that someone's past and memories could be thrown away or sold, and then ultimately forgotten since there was no one around to share these stories with anyone. These "forgotten memories" are what I want to focus a book around. I like the idea of memories because everyone has them, and everyone has a unique one based on their experiences and who they are. There are many ways of portraying these memories, such as through photography or art, as I do with my paintings. I want to bring in the written word and tie this into my artwork to create a book based on people's memories.

I would like to invite writers and poets to submit their memories or stories around memories that can then be "matched up" with my artwork and be published as a book. I will probably self-publish through blurb.com and I don't imagine there being any profit from this, but I think the book could be a worthwhile effort and product. Here are some ideas of what kind of writing I am looking for:

1. Poems/ short stories recounting a memory
2. Interviews with older people that can then be translated into a first person narrative
3. Memories (real or made up) written in letter format. I have many images of sailors or soldiers with their girlfriends so I am thinking along the lines of what they would have written each other during war. Or perhaps a letter from a family member to a parent.
4. Essays of the importance of memories.

Anything creative that would make for a good read that could be then tied to an image would be good. You can visit my website, http://www.jhinaalvarado.com/, and see some of my paintings and what kind of images I am talking about. I would like to have this edited and printed by the end of September so that this can be available at Open Studios in October. Sound interesting? Want to contribute or know someone who would be perfect for this? If so, please email and give me an idea of what you'd like to do. I look forward to hearing from people and can't wait to get this project started!


  1. I would love to participate in this project! Just started my blog, as you know, and I have been really enjoying writing. I'm going to give it some thought and see what I come up with. BTW, I was just given dozens of photos of my grandparents. Maybe that will inspire??