My love for Dragon Boats has gotten me into another unusual situation.

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Escaped Lunatic

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As usual, I'm getting ready for Dragon Boating.  "Victory At Pond" practice begins on June 8th this year.

Being far too fascinated with dragon boats has led me into all sorts of entertaining situations:

I've gone for a swim to get pics from the waterline.

I've been reverse-mutineed into being captain (and liked it so much that I try to command a boat a few times each Dragon Boat season).

I've captained a dragon boat launching out of the boat shed, only to find that the crew of the boat leaving before mine took all the paddles. llllllllll bibibibibi llllllllll

I've been interviewed multiple times and participated in a video made last year by the local Culture Bureau guy.

I've been planning my retirement.  I have a list of books about China I want to write.  The top book on the list is about Dragon Boating.  Looking at my savings account, I realize that I'm not retiring any time soon ananananan, but I want to get a book written anyway.  So, I started organizing all the stuff I'd written about my adventures in the pond here at the Saloon, in my blog, and in emails to family.  This turned out to be quite a lot of material.  I then laid out planned chapters.  Woohoo!  I've got about half the writing done.  Also, the writing would end up being twice as long, since I plan for the book to be bilingual.

There are some photos I want to include that were taken by other people.  One of the people I want photos from is the local Culture Bureau guy.  My wife had a chat with him and the next thing I knew, there was a WeChat group with him and a few other people in it.

Yesterday one of those people (the supervisor of the guy I know) wanted to meet me to discuss the book.  I was doing my best to follow the conversation (thankfully Mandarin - I'd be totally lost in local Cantonese), but had to rely on my wife for all the finer details.  Then I got hit with one of those questions that every writer dreads.  "How many pages are you planning for this book?"  I'd been looking at self-publishing options, and, if possible, I want glossy paper since the book will be full of photos.  In terms of being able to produce something nice while not causing me to go bankrupt, I was planning on about 100 pages.  I told him my target and there was a flurry of conversation.  I was bracing myself for a request to cut the length in half.

Instead, I was told that if I could expand it to at least 300 pages (WOW!), it may be possible to get some assistance in getting it published.  One suggestion for expansion include more info on life in my village (happily, I already have some of that written).  Another was to consider add some illustrations (now I need to find an illustrator/cartoonist).    I've also decided to visit a company that builds dragon boats.  That alone would be a great chapter and maybe they would let me include some blueprints.

"When do you think it will be done?"  My original plan was to have it ready for the printers by the end of this year, but the added length will require more time.  I told him that I really want it published before Dragon Boat Day next year.

Two other attendees at the meeting are somehow tied to the press.  They want to interview me sometime soon.

So, looks like I've got myself a far bigger than planned project as well as a deadline.  This should be fun.
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AMonk

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 agagagagag agagagagag :respect:
Moderation....in most things...

well begun sir! Writing this book will indeed be an achievement. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
Going bilingual is an excellent idea. Not because it will double the length, (I'm assuming you have already thought about that), but because checking the translation possibilities will bring up more unanswered questions, giving you more to think about and thus write about.
Not asking enough questions is the bane of writers. This btw is what editors fear in a new writer. Publishers and editors take it as given that any thing they receive is twice as long a it needs to be. If it's already rather short when it comes to them, they suspect it doesn't have enough content and won't sell. So yes, a 300+ page manuscript probably means a 150 page book, at least in their eyes. Well, they have heard you talk about it, but they haven't read samples yet. We saloonaticks have seen at least a little of your work, and are hungry for more. Go get 'em!

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Escaped Lunatic

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Ummmm... we were definitely talking finished pages.  The good news is that he knows there are going to be TONS of photos.

And it's Dragon Boat Day!  Which has people asking me on WeChat why I'm posting about a race on the 16th - because my village sets its own schedule.  Dragon Boat Day itself can be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the celebrations in my village.

I'm focusing primarily on my local boats, but I was planning a chapter showing some different styles of boats and boating in other places (like the Dragon Boats on Ice in Harbin).

I already messaged a photographer friend in FengHuang ask asked for some good shots of the people who paddle while standing up.  Evidently, it's a choice each crew makes (I still need to ask if the boat have slightly different designs), and he promised to get me some good pics.  Oh. and they are throwing 500 live ducks into the river there today while people swim from the opposite shore to try to grab ducks.  I've seen a few videos.  ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah

There are ducks in my village pond, but I suspect me jumping in and and trying to grab them would be . . . discouraged.
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Escaped Lunatic

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Dragon Boat Day was supposed to be practice, but for Day 3, it was one hell of a practice session.  The boats undocked earlier and back and forth in the pond far more times that yesterday than the day before.

I see I have to make a small amendment to the "match the paddle in front of you" advice I give.  Several people ahead of me were having trouble staying in synch.  The smart thing to do if your paddle hits another is to pull it up and wait for the next chance to match the paddle in front of you.  The problem was there multiple people doing this and at a couple points, I had to match the paddle 5 or 6 seats forward since all the crew in-between weren't paddling.

The good news is that this sort of thing usually works itself out as practice continues.  Typically, during the last few days synchronization gets pretty close to perfection.

In other news, one short boat from another section of the village sank, resulting in the entire crew (I think that size boat has a full crew of 26) being seriously wet.  I didn't see it happen, but I did see the ones who didn't swim to shore working on bailing out the boat.  The shorter boats sit much lower in the water, which makes it easier for the whole boat to flood if it leans a little too far to one side or the other.
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During that meeting with the Culture Bureau, a woman sitting next to the main person asked me a lot of questions.  She rewrote that into a scripted interview for a video.  I whined about asking about my age (I'm a dragon - think round numbers  ananananan) and finally got that removed.  The script included her talking to a couple of other people, including someone addressed as an Old Man in the village - who is the same age I am. amamamamam

In any event, I'm very used to speaking spontaneously, but ... let's just say I'm a thousand tmes better at improv than at closely following a script.  We finally got most of the interview video done on the same day as the Mouth Stuffing ceremony and it only took about 20 takes before I more or less got it right.

Then there was the intro.  I was supposed to meet someone else, tell him I was born in the Year of the Dragon and how great it is to be paddling dragon boats in the village during a Dragon Year.  Getting me and the initially targetted person both free at the same time didn't work.  Even better, she thought it would be cool if I said the lines in Mandarin.  aqaqaqaqaq

I had my lovely wife print it out in pinyin and make the font about 24 points for easy viewing.  The pronunciation was easy, but there were just enough words outside of my vocabulary to have my brain keep scrambling things.  While I was messing around reading the script over and over, I said my lines in a deep, commanding voice like an emperor making a decree in one of those cool costume drama TV shows - and the lady from the Culture Bureau decided that's how I should say it on video.  My wife would hold up the script just outside of camera view.

Also, we still didn't have the person I was supposed to be talking to. So, my wife found a random person to volunteer.  But, he had 2 small children who were ready to dash off in random directions, so she watched them.  This left the Culture Bureau woman to hold the script while I walked up to meet someone next to where my village section's boats were parked.  What could possibly go wrong?

Aiyaaaaaaa!  My newfound friend took several large steps towards me each time I approached to shake his hand, putting the script too far away to see.  As things progressed, a larger and larger crowd formed to make sure I'd be as nervous as possible. llllllllll  After 6 or 8 tries, we rearranged things.  The woman and the two camera guys went to the outside of the railing (there's a narrow platform for people getting in and out of the boats there).  He and I would meet at the same place, then walk to the railing and I'd deliver my lines (imperial style ababababab) while appearing to be looking at the boats.  About 10 tries later, it finally worked well enough.

I really hope they've got a good video editor.

And (with one unfortunate exception a couple rows ahead of me llllllllll) the crew of the boat I'm on is getting paddling more and more precisely synched up.
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A couple of nights ago, a different woman from the culture bureau was at the after-practice dinner.  She and her video guys got footage from the kitchen, did closeups of lifting something from each dish with chopsticks, and asked a few people questions.  I also got questioned, gave an answer, and got suggestions for a better answers.  I mostly gave that answer while ad-libbing a bit more.  I thought they'd cut it, but the video came out in WeChat videos last night just after dinner and it's all there.  I'm told the video with the longer interview will most likely come out sometime on Sunday.
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