Listen to Pilot Light

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Collecting and republishing the past

I got an email today from someone curious as to what I was up to. He wanted to know if I had a blog, and I sent him the link, but I realized that primarily what I have posted is observations, not updates of the ongoing effort to proved the world with new and improved art and music. So here is an update.

When we lived on an old wooden boat in the Caribbean, part of the way I earned my keep, when not doing boat work, was writing about living on a boat. I did a monthly column in the journal Caribbean Compass for at least five years, probably longer. It was caustic, and made fun of the readers, other people who wrote for people on boats, and even the very idea of life on board. It turned out to be very popular with readers, and advertisers didn't seem to hate it. At least the editor, Sally Erdle, never complained.

As I worked to edit and republish The Legend of Ron Anejo  and worked with my friends John Pocock and Tom Tsui to finish and publish Chancy,which is also about sailing, I thought of those short pieces and wondered it they still held up. Were they still funny? Would a collection be something worth republishing as a book.

But first, did they even still exist? My traveling lifestyle has been death on any old manuscripts that I might have had. Hell, the computers haven't survived, and I threw out the 5-inch floppy disks they were stored on years ago (any of you too young to know what those are can Google to find out).

I contacted Sally in Bequia and told her of my idea of publishing them as a book. She not only had the text files, but happily zipped them  and sent them to me. Dagny and I read through them, kicked out a few, and now are editing the 60,000 words that remain into a fun book. The good news is that very little turned out to be perishable. Since I seldom  address ideas more topical than what I had for breakfast, there is little to fade.

The intention is to publish the book both in ebook and in paperback formats; the ebook should be ready fairly soon, fairly being a time interval between one and three months. Being the chief editor, formatter, designer and distribution manager takes time. And this isn't the only project going on. But here is the dummy for the ebook cover.

So, if you happen to pass up the Kampot River and don't see us swimming, you now know what is going on in those strange wooden houses along river.