I just completed another book project and thought I would post some thoughts about documenting one's life, family, experiences, and whatever interests you.

I was given the opportunity to produce free book by two self-publishing outlets (Zno and Saal-Digital) in the last couple of weeks.  This book was for what Zno calls "The Little Black Book". The Saal-Digital book was for My Nubia book.  

I'll talk about my experiences with self publishing as I have used four different companies to do books including Blurb.  For these books, I was given a deadline of one week which was good and bad.  Bad because it was a bit rushed and good because if forced me to get it done. I'm not the most organized person and my photos are spread out over 10 or so hard drives and 10 or so photo albums from pre-digital photography days (and neither are well organized into categories, dates, places,  - something I need to work on and should have been doing a long time ago).

I will go into details in the documentation process in future posts, but what I have come to realize is that unless something is printed out, it may be lost or become inaccessible down the road.  Already, I am having difficulties accessing some photo files in hard drives that have become corrupted or with programs such as iPhoto which is no longer compatible with new photo storage program called Photos.  I use the iPhone a lot for documenting things and taking photos and will now need to figure out how to retrieve those photos from the old programs.

So in other words, if you want to have a record of your life, family and what interests you to show to people and for posterity's sake, then make what we call "a hard copy" of your pictures and thoughts.  A printed version.

Shams Nabra | Attitude book was very simple and easy to put together.  There was no option to add captions or text to the book and there were only four layout page designs.  I was limited to 25 images, so the selection of photos was the most difficult part of the process.  I combed through hard drives and saw tons of great photos I had only seen when they were first taken.  I thought what a shame that these great snapshots of life might be lost forever unless they are printed out (or at least organized where they could be easily found and accessed).  And I went through the randomly organized photo albums that my wife put together many years ago (thank goodness she put them in albums), and pulled out some prints to scan (no way I would be able to find the negatives - if I still have them - that correspond to the prints).

So here it is |

This is the cover of the 24 page book | My son, Shams, and my daughter, Nabra, on safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya in January 2009

Because no text is possible for this particular book layout and design except for the title which had to go on the binder, I plan to handwrite captions saying where and when the photos were taken when I get the printed version.  For this on-line version I will put those captions below each page.

Collage from Tangier, Morocco (June 2000), dressed in traditional outfits for my school reunion gathering | The Big Island Hawaii (date to be determined- some time in the late 1990's)

Quick explanation on my thoughts regarding the title |  I know that "attitude" can have negative connotations, but with my kids, I see in them a relationship between them that says, "I got a hold on this life and we are going to grasp it and have a good time - especially when we are together".  

Dictionary definition "a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior".

London with Mona (July 2004) | Black Rock Desert outing with me (July 2008), Nevada
The Alexandria Museum (April 2006), Egypt | Moulay Idriss (June 2000), Morocco
Mount Sinai (August 2007), Egypt | Tom's sailboat Malibu (July 2008)
Bodie ghost town (July 2008), California | Kandy, Sri Lanka (December 2004)
Attitude pictures | locations unknown | July 2004 (L) and May 2013 (R)
At a museum in San Francisco (I think - July 2009) | Bangkok (December 2006 - I think)
Lake Nakuru, Kenya (January 2009) | Langkawi, Malaysia (February 2004)
Lamu, Kenya (January 2009)
World War II Japanese cave, Bagiou | Sagada, The Philippines (May 2016) 
Catching snowflakes, Monument Valley, Arizona (March 199?) | Christmas day, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka (2004) 

Note re Sri Lanka photo | The next day 26 December, the tsunami struck destroying many of the small beach hotels.  We were safe in our second floor room and fortunately Hikkaduwa, though it sustained significant damage, did not suffer loss of life that I am aware of. (though north of Hikkaduwa, a passenger train was swamped killing hundred - I remember a European television outlet did a documentary film about Hikkaduwa and how it's location and the way the giant wave swept around the southern edge of Sri Lanka, spared it somewhat from being washed away as what happened with communities south and north of it.)

At our former home in Cairo (December 2008) | On the road somewhere, sometime

I will write more about self-publishing and the documentation process involved with putting together books on different subjects.

I have done seven self-published books on four different platforms.  For the four Blurb books I have done you can visit the site at https://www.blurb.com/user/abushams?filter=bookstore

Note | the book called "Nabrad Road" was done by my son, Shams, for his sister, Nabra, on the occasion of her birthday.