Wednesday, June 2, 2010
3 Years of Work, in My Hand
On my front porch this morning was a slender brown padded envelope containing an advance copy of Korean for Beginners, a book I coauthored with my Korean colleague, Park Kyubyong. It hits shelves (and Amazon trucks) August 10.
That'll make more than three years of on-again, off-again work on this project. We put together the first 10 chapters back in 2007 and sent them off with query letters to several publishers. We heard nothing...for a very long time. It wasn't until the middle of my bicycle tour through Maritime Canada that an editor from Tuttle Publishing got in touch.
After that, getting a contract was comparatively easy, and we were then tasked with actually writing the book--going back and recrafting those 10 nearly forgotten chapters and creating 17 more. Only, it was now December of 2008 and I was a month away from starting a year in South America.
The words in this book have moved around as much as I have. Their inspiration was drawn from my two happy years in Seoul and the struggles I encountered studying the language. The bulk of them were written on my bed in room #1 of the Sustainable Bolivia house in Cochabamba, or in a cafe called Casablanca on Calle España. I can't remember, but revisions probably carried over to Cuzco. And that's where Carey began in earnest on the book's illustrations, work which followed us to a beach hostel in Arica, Barrio Bellavista in Santiago, a chalet-style guesthouse in Pucón, and our volunteer homestay in Esquel, Argentina. I recorded the audio tracks in our tenth-floor Palermo flat in Buenos Aires.
Now it's in my hand in Austin.
It's not a travel book, but it sure feels like one.