It is not entirely accurate to say that I have been up to my old tricks, for among the tricks were new ones, such as the publication of a goddam book. I have never done that before, and now that my author copies have arrived, it is delightful to see words that I have written in print. The book is a travel guide to the entire city of Chicago; I covered the north side and most of the west, and shared duties on the center of town. It was written with another fellow whose talents complemented my own, under contract to a publisher overseas. The idea was for us to write a book, and then post more or less the entire thing online for people to collaborate upon in wiki-form; whereupon we, as editors, will incorporate any quality submissions received into the text of the book, which is printed on demand whenever someone orders it, ensuring that it is ruthlessly current.
The publishers received some coverage on the blogs last week, most notably on boingboing, where a commenter named JOE had this to say:
"Their Chicago guide is 468 pages? That's not a travel guide, that's a travel novel. You'd spend the majority of your trip reading the beast."
Damn right! Thanks, guy.
So that's what I did with the latter half of 2007, and also the first month of 2008. It was a lot of work, but I am pleased with the finished product. I did rather a lot of writing, of course, and plenty of walking around to find things and telephone calls to confirm other things; two of my photos adorn the cover, and there are a few more scattered throughout the book in black and white. Rogers Park receives an entire chapter, and although travel literature is a form simply not equipped to capture the sweet, savage nature of the old stomping grounds, I did enjoy the chance to write about my ancestral land in guidebook form.
You can buy a copy of my book here; and I leave you with that.
(Obviously, I haven't written an entry for quite a long time. Both my day job and the aforementioned travel guide require sentences that do not wander too far into the labyrinth of alarm and excitement and halfway state that is the mark of my usual prose, so it is kind of enjoyable to stretch out with all of these clauses.)