Update On the New Book

If only to convince myself. I'm now, what, 18 months into this project? But FINALLY I'm at the stage where I can "see" the entirety. And that's not bad considering what a tortured path I've traveled.

 Random photo series 2017: Astoria Park, Queens, October 2016

Random photo series 2017: Astoria Park, Queens, October 2016

Back in fall 2015, I decided to write a short history of beer in the US. Lunatics and Liquid Art: Beer in the U.S., 1978-2015.

I also decided to self-publish the book. I intended to focus entirely on the history of "new" beer. 

I intended something along the lines of 15,000 words or thereabouts.

(For comparison, the text of the beer and meat books run about 100,000 words, plus another 15,000 or so of notes and bibliography.)

In short, I decided to write a kind of companion piece to the beer book. A concise history based on my fifteen or so years thinking about and observing beer in the US.

So I zipped along. After all, this was SHORT. This would be easy. I wasn't starting from scratch, right? (Because until now, I've intentionally written books about topics about which I knew zero.)

But . . . my deep brain kept niggling at me. Something about the project was . . . off. I didn't know what. But something.

And one day in lateish August, my brain figured it out. Huzzah!

The "story," the significant story, began in the 1930s, not the 1970s. 

So the new book now covers the period from 1933. But: This history is told entirely from perspective of "small" brewers.

No surprise: This necessitated new research. 

I made a trip to Kansas City to read brewery journals. Ordered a bunch of stuff from inter-library loan. And in January, I visited Boulder to dig into the Bulletins published by the original small brewers group, which was founded in 1942. 

At the moment, I'm working my way through that material. It's fascinating. Having a blast. Etc. 

 Random Photo Series 2017: Wave Hill Park, New York City, October 2016

Random Photo Series 2017: Wave Hill Park, New York City, October 2016

And time consuming.

Not least because, again, I'm doing this book entirely on my own. (Because in 2017, there's zero reason to sell it to a publisher for a pittance, and give an agent 15% of that pittance. If no one's gonna make any money on my work, I'd rather it be me.)

(And I've been writing for publication since the late 1980s. I know how to edit, copy edit, etc. I might as well do this myself.)

So: Although I'd love to have a 2017 publication date -- the reality is that I'll finish when I finish. When the manuscript is presentable, after I've gathered the illustrations, written the captions, edited, copy-edited, indexed, formatted, etc.

Hours and hours and days and weeks and months of work. (Proofreading a 100,000-word manuscript, for example, takes me about ten days. That's reading the entire work aloud, backward, word by word.)

And the other reality of my life is this: I'm 63. I want a life that involves more than "work." A topic about which I've ranted before.

 Random Photo Series 2017: Wave Hill Park, New York City, October 2016

Random Photo Series 2017: Wave Hill Park, New York City, October 2016

And hey! It's March! That means landscaping, which only runs about three months here in Iowa, has begun. And then there's Trump. And I volunteered, for only the second time in my life, to serve on a committee. (I now "get" every gag ever about committees: Most people are only there to talk, not work. Sigh.)

Anyway. Onward, comrades! Onward.