Cheryl Lovegreen: Anchorage Remembers—It Takes a Village to Create a Book

In the fall of 2013, I met with Linda Ketchum, Executive
Director of 49 Writers at the time, to discuss a project called Anchorage
Remembers. In a 49 Writers blog post, she’d mentioned the project, asking for
volunteers, and I was one of the first to raise my hand. To celebrate
Anchorage’s centennial, 49 Writers was going to submit a grant proposal to
create writing workshops for community members to help them write their memories
of Anchorage. From their submissions and others, an anthology would be
published. Being a longtime Anchorage resident, a history buff, and former
writing teacher, I was excited about the possibilities. Linda offered me the
job of Anchorage Remembers Coordinator, and I accepted.
My contract was to run from January of 2014 to the end of
that year, but my commitment carried me voluntarily to the present, as it did
many of the others who became involved. While a few stipends were paid, the
project was genuinely a labor of love. The grant was approved and we became an
official Anchorage Centennial project, sponsored by the Alaska Humanities
Forum, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Centennial Celebration. I
attended meetings held by the municipality that led to networking and support
from other groups as well. My main duty was to communicate with people
throughout the process and keep things moving along.
Our core committee members were Judith Conte, Susan Pope,
Becky Saleeby, and Louise Freeman Toole. These 49 Writers members crafted the
curriculum and led the writing workshops, making sure we were as inclusive as
possible in reaching out to community residents. Workshops were offered at the
Anchorage Senior Activity Center, the Pioneer School House, and the
Chugiak-Eagle River Senior center, with support from the Anchorage Women’s Club
and the senior centers. 49 Writers member Lizzie Newell took photos for us. I
don’t have space here to list all 47 people who registered for workshops, or all
44 who submitted stories for the anthology. We opened the submission process to
participants in the workshops and the general public. Sixty-one percent of the submissions
selected were written by participants in the Anchorage Remembers workshops.
Volunteers Marilyn Borell, Lynn DeFilippo, Kellie Doherty,
Sherry Eckrich, and Cindi White mentored the writers in revising and editing their
work. A blog was set up for showcasing certain selections. Linda Ketchum’s
leadership continued under Morgan Grey, who helped with editing the forty
selections slated for print. Louise Freeman-Toole did additional editing and is
coordinating the book distribution as well as the blog. Vered Mares completed
the interior design and cover. Interim Assistant Deb Vanasse helped with the
finishing touches, and volunteers Alex Kramarczuk and Kate Partridge are assisting
with our book launch. (If I have missed any volunteers, it was my error— please
accept my apologies.)
So I’m not kidding when I say it took a community to make
this book. Thanks to everyone involved. And now our release day is finally
here! We are proud to announce a Crosscurrents reading and book launch event
this Thursday. You are all welcome to attend on July 23rd, 7-9 pm, at the
Anchorage Museum to celebrate with us. You’ll hear some of our authors read from
their selections and you’ll have an opportunity to meet with many others
involved in this worthy project. Please, come join our party!
Anchorage Remembers
can be ordered through your local independent bookstore. It is also available
online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The print edition sells for $14.95.
E-book editions will soon be available for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook readers.

Cheryl Lovegreen has
been an Alaskan for forty-six years and a member of 49 Writers for five years.
She writes young adult historical romance under her pen name. 
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