The Legacy

by J.D. Peterson

Our stories and ideas motivate us to write and publish our books and e-books. Fueled by the excitement of our project we persevere through a myriad of procedures and often times obstacles, to finally celebrate the moment our book cover first appears on the Amazon website and other outlets.

Would we find such excitement or perseverance if the work was not our own?           

This past week a friend of mine published ‘her’ first e-book. Originally published in hardback, it is a Thai cookbook written by her now-deceased, ex-mother-in-law. Simply titled; “The Original Thai Cookbook” the Amazon description says it is The first complete, authentic Thai cookbook published in America, with more than 140 traditional, kitchen-tested recipes. 
The author, Jennifer Brennan, was born into a family of British Colonials, sailing the seas on clipper ships for the British East India Company, and was very familiar with the spices and cooking techniques delivered within the pages of this book. Both Jennifers mother and grandmother were born in Calcutta, part of the British Raj in India. Jennifer mixes her personal travel narratives, photos and artwork with delicious recipes. The recipes are packed full of exotic ingredients, herbs and spices used to flavor authentic Thai cooking.

The current e-book project began when the publisher holding the rights to the book contacted the family, alerting them to the fact that the publisher was no longer printing the cookbook. My friend, Kristine, wanted to preserve the authentic recipes, photos and stories into the digital age. Having done e-publishing in the past, and currently a website designer, she took on the project without the aid of e-pub software, aligning the recipes and chapters through direct coding. My head hurts just thinking about that one. It took a long time, and a lot of work, but she did it.

Kristine Bonner
Aside from the obvious work of setting up the recipes by digitizing the text and photos, there was also a daunting legal side to this project. Written permission needed to be acquired from any living heirs of Jennifer Brennans work before the e-book could become a reality. Names and addresses of family members were collected and letters were sent out. One by one, responses and signatures were obtained, some after many months. Finally, permission was acquired from all relevant persons and the actual work could begin. For many people, this legal aspect would have been enough to put a project on the proverbial back burner never to travel the road to completion.                              

Kudos to Kristine for pushing through all the obstacles! The e-book is a posthumous tribute to Jennifer Brennans life and travels. The Thai cookbook, a gift for future generations to enjoy recipes of authentic cuisine.    

                                                                                                                                                    On that note...

This past week I lost a dear friend to a stroke. He was an amazing musician who helped me bring another of my creative aspects to life; music. Bob Freed was a talented engineer and producer in the studio. He also played drums, bass guitar, rhythm and lead guitar on my tracks, then mixed and
mastered my final recordings, breathing life into the songs through his skill and talent.

Bob is one of many unsung heros that nurture the creative muse living inside the artists of the world. Where would we be without those that share our process behind the scenes? Those that aid us and facilitate in bringing our 'intellectual property' out of the 'intellect' and into the 'property'. Where would we be without those who diligently preserve the work of an author, now gone from the world?
Bob Freed & J.D.

Our books, our music, our artwork and everything else we create is the legacy of our lives. Even if the work we leave behind does not always reach the mainstream audience it deserves, we know that we followed through on our ideas and created the stories, art, and music, bringing them into real existence as a testament to human vision. Somehow we overcame many obstacles and moved ideas out of the realm of imagination and into the land of books, CD’s and other tangible examples of the muse that drives us on to dream and create.

It takes courage to put our work out into the world. Our novels are a labor of love. But it is worth noting that our personal motivations become part of a bigger creative expression. A tribute to the artist within, still alive and kicking in spite of the challenges of our modern world.

Our words. 
Our work. 
Our legacy.
May it endure the passage of time.


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