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Saving my memories in book form

On the Bright Side

I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year. As a general rule I find I don't keep them anyway. It's easy to say I'm going to do better at this or that or I'm no longer going to do that or this, but it's hard to follow through when old habits are so firmly formed.

The only resolution that has ever worked relatively well for me is this: "I resolve to be open to new possibilities." It basically comes down to simply reminding myself to keep myself open to any and all possibilities, whatever they may be or from wherever they may come, however and whenever they may present themselves.

Finding new ways to enjoy this wonderful life, starting any time of the year (or month, or day...), are the kinds of resolutions I find I can really keep all year long. And I'm in the middle of realizing some very rewarding and exciting possibilities for myself right now, that I never thought, well, possible, until last year.

I've been writing this column called "On the Bright Side" continuously since 1996, starting when I lived in a Denver suburb, for the Commerce City Beacon. That's a long time, and a lot of columns.

Occasionally I put together little collections of columns for friends, and through the years some of my columns have been picked up by other publications. But as I perused through my files on a whim last year, I found many of my essays are missing. I don't know where they are – on lost discs, perhaps, maybe on some obsolete floppies, if I even kept them in the first place. If I ever had hard copies, they are long gone.

But I really had fun rereading the early efforts I could find, especially reliving some great memories. Consequently, I decided to put together a collection of the early columns I have and get them published in book form, thanks to new possibilities in the publishing world of Amazon. And now I'll be able to keep those memories for myself and anyone else who might be interested.

Putting it all together was a labor of love, and I love that I not only started that project, but I actually finished it as well, and it turned out better than I imagined. I love sharing my thoughts and words and now, thanks to those new possibilities, I can offer my collection to – literally – the world.

My book, officially called "On the Bright Side, a Collection of Columns by Mel White/Mel Makaw," is an anthology of my early columns, mostly from when I lived in Colorado and was just starting this two-and-a-half-decades-long journey of writing regular essays for publication. And thanks to ever expanding possibilities, I plan for it to be the first in a series of Bright Side collections; the next one will include early Tehachapi Loop writings, thanks to Claudia Baker allowing me to continue writing for this paper over these last 20 years.

If you are a regular reader of my missives and would like to see more of my work, you can find the book at the Tehachapi Arts Center (downtown, formerly the Tehachapi Treasure Trove) and at the Healthy Hippie Trading Co. in Old Town on Brian Way. My thanks to those stores for carrying the book, and another thanks to those who have already scooped up a copy.

Thanks also to local author Lauraine Snelling, who read the book pre-publication and who wrote a great blurb for the back cover, and to well-known community members Stan and Dixie Coutant for their excellent and much appreciated proof-reading skills.

Like many people who save memories in the form of written notes and letters or other original efforts, I'm now looking back at past works and saving memories in the form of collections of my favorites. Nothing is getting lost now, not with new and expanding possibilities, and me happily stepping up and taking advantage of them.

And nothing is more exiting for a writer like me than seeing her work in published book form.

Here's to looking on the bright side, and here's to possibilities – they go together oh so well.

© 2023 Mel Makaw. Mel is a local writer/photographer and author of the newly published book "On the Bright Side, a Collection of Columns" (available locally at Tehachapi Arts Center and Healthy Hippie Trading Co). She welcomes your comments at [email protected].