A lasting legacy for author and community
When Michael Gery offered to chronicle his church's story, it was with the understanding that he would work alone. Gery understood it would expand his "workload immensely," but that didn't matter. He was, he wrote, "always more interested in the quality of the project" and feared writing by committee would result in a book that was "disjointed, and written in different voices."
Though he died before he was able to publish his work, Michael Gery did complete an impressive amount of writing and research. Gery's wife, Lisa, states in the dedication that, "He spent years collecting and reading books and historical documents, visiting local historical societies, conducting interviews, and culling the church's voluminous files of sermons, logs, and annual reports. At the time of his death, he had more than three hundred files of partially written chapters and appendices."
Lisa Gery, with the support of church member and editor, Jo Ann Augeri Silva, pulled together the work her husband had done, created a manuscript, and contacted me to put it into book form.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead: Transformation Through Time is an impressive body of work. The book holds not only the history of the church, but the history of the "political and religious movements that led to its founding."
From a design perspective, it is a complex text with deep footnotes and few photographs. Understanding that it would be a hefty book (the spine is nearly an inch thick), it is designed in a larger format with a wide inside margin.
The result is a book that opens easily, has plenty of white space, and gives readers room to breathe.
Though I never met Michael Gery, his interest in creating a body of work he could be proud of will, I imagine, inspire his congregation and readers alike as it inspired me.
If you're writing a memoir and need guidance, let's talk.