I had a super crazy thought. A huge, monumental idea. It’s insane that I’m even thinking about it. I pondered a project so big, it could take me years to maybe forever to accomplish. An art piece so outlandish, I might actually try to do it. I even roped my daughter into considering doing it with me. Yes, it’s so big, I need help. I would even have to involve my sister and my husband too. And it might even have something to do with crochet.
There’s this book, a book I absolutely love, love, love. I was 19 years old and visiting my daughter’s grandparents in another state. She was just a baby, and I spent a month with them so they could get to know her. They took me to the library, which I was very grateful for since I was getting a little stir crazy being away from my own family. Reading has always been, and still is, a wonderful escape from…anything that needs escaping from. I came across this paperback called Mermaid’s Song by Alida Van Gores. I fell in love with it instantly. It’s about mermaid’s. I loved mermaids back then. I love mermaids now. It was a match made in sea heaven.
It’s a story that takes place in the ocean and didn’t have any of the nonsense about trying to be human. I returned the book, thinking I could find it at my leisure when I got back home. That turned out not to be true. Had I known how difficult it was going to be to find that book, I would have ‘lost’ it and paid the library for it.
When I went back for a visit to her grandparents some time later, the book was gone. They had no record of it. They said they didn’t really keep track of paperbacks. What?! That’s when I went on a mission to try to find myself a copy of the book. I went to various libraries looking for it. No luck. I went to all the bookstores I could. No luck. They even looked it up in this huge book of books and found it but said it was out of print. They couldn’t even order it for me. This was all before the internet. I was pretty sad I couldn’t get my hands on a copy but I had everyone on high alert. They were to purchase it immediately if they came across it anywhere. No luck. This went on for years.
Then, the internet happened. We were early adopters. I was married by then to my husband. My daughter was around five and I’m pretty sure it was early Ebay, but it could have been some other site, but I found it! I paid around $20 for something I wouldn’t have paid 50 cents for, especially back then. It was beat up and falling apart but the pages were intact and I was soooooo happy to have finally been reunited with my book. I loved that book so much that I had my sister read it and my friend (sister-in-law) and my daughter, when she was finally old enough to love reading.
My friend (sister-in-law) found another used copy that was in better condition than mine and bought it for me. I think it cost a lot less too. We swapped copies and I took my shinier copy (it was still old) and wrapped it in plastic-cling-wrap to keep the dust off. I put it on display and bought a couple of figurines that reminded me of the story.
Since then, with the help of the internet, I’ve been able to get more information about this book and it’s author. I wanted a sequel so badly. It had a good solid ending, but it was clearly meant to have more to come. It never came. Turns out, the author only wrote the one book. She was a writer for television and when the writers strike hit in the 80’s, she wrote the book. When the strike was over, she went back to her day job and didn’t return to writing books. She died in 1996. So sadly, there’s no hope of her writing a sequel. There was probably no hope of a sequel any way, but as long as she was alive, there was hope.
I wasn’t alone in my love of this book either. Whenever I found information about the book, people generally loved it too. I found much information from the comments of others. Over time, whenever I found the book for sale online, it was always well over $100 for an acceptable copy. A good copy was priced over $300! Yikes! Well, I had my copy, so price wasn’t an issue anymore.
There it sat on display in my bookshelves, nice and cozy until, years later, my niece was into mermaid’s and I wanted to share the story with her. I know, I know. Didn’t I know how hard it was to find this book to begin with? Was I really going to send it out into the world, no matter the good intentions of my niece? In hindsight, it was a foolish thing to do. But still, I wanted to share this wonderful story with a fellow mermaid enthusiast. My sister knew how much I valued this book so I took a chance. Let me tell you now they found the book.
The other day, I was walking by my bookshelves and glanced at the spot where the book was supposed to be and it wasn’t there. It’s bad when you can’t remember why there’s an empty spot where your most favorite book (in the WHOLE world) is supposed to be residing. It had been so long since I had loaned my niece the book that I couldn’t remember the details about its return or lack of being returned. If it had been returned, I would have put it back in it’s spot, so it still had to be with my niece.
The next time I saw my sister, I asked her about it. She remembered I had loaned it to my niece but that was about it. Not a good sign. She went home and my niece didn’t remember much about it but they looked for it and found it. My sister was pretty upset because the cover was ripped and cracked. She felt bad. I was just relieved that the book was still intact even though the cover was damaged. The book was old. It was bound to happen if we were going to continue reading it.
My sister wanted to replace it but discovered you can’t easily get your hands on a decent copy for less than $400. No way! It’s not that serious. We still had our copy. That was good enough as far as I was concerned. She found that our university library claimed to have a copy and she was planning to borrow it and “lose” it by accident (we are definitely related). She was planning to do this even though I assured her she didn’t need to replace it. I only deterred her when I did my own search, showing her it was a special order ‘in-library-use’ only. Although it might be hilarious, I didn’t want my sister arrested for stealing a book about a mermaid!
Once she was safely deterred, I started thinking (never a good thing). It’s not the physical book I care about but the story. It’s the story I want to make sure I have. So why not type it up for my own pleasure? I’m not the world’s fastest typist but I’m decent at it. It might take me awhile, but I could do it. Then I could turn it into an ebook and read it on my Kindle or ipad. Hmmm…I could add my own artwork, either in the form of photography or art that my daughter or husband can create. Hmmm…or maybe I crochet the best mermaid I have ever made and shoot it at the beach and make artful photos. Or all those ideas.
So instead of just typing it out, I create a picture book with the story I can still read. I could make it 8×10 with a nice piece of artwork (in whatever form it takes) for every chapter and a really nice cover. I could have it printed into a book and then I could display that! Assuming it’s not too expensive. Who am I kidding, it’s going to be expensive. 🙂 My sister thought it was a great idea (she would though, she’s a good sister). My daughter liked it too. She went so far as to say she likes typing and could help me out on that. We could split it, she said. I said that would be great and when she’s done with her half (because we all know she’ll be done first) she can help me with my half. 🙂 My daughter is a wonderful artist so with her fast typing skills and her artistic eye, this might actually happen!
Even though hubby was skeptical of the whole thing (rightfully pointing out I hardly have time for other things), he started looking into ways of making the mechanics of it all less time consuming. Things like paying someone else to digitize the book for me. He even asked me what I had in mind for artwork. He has so little spare time that just asking me that told me how much he loves me. After all, this might not even happen, but if it does, it will be glorious!