Today I leave India once and for all, to return to St. Louis. I am full of every kind of emotion, but the predominant feeling is anticipation. Anticipation to reunite with my loved ones, to be back in a fully equipped kitchen, and to sit down to work with all of the amazing source material that I’ve gathered here in Himachal Pradesh.
Here’s a logistical update/timeline for the project:
– Right now, our interpreter/translator Choekyi is digging into the interviews she expertly facilitated for me. The poor thing not only had to live the stories twice per interview, but she now gets to hear them again AND express them again, in English. Diligent lady. Choekyi is averaging three transcripts a week, so I should have all of the material translated and ready for reading within two months. Also, I believe that the steady flow of interviews to my inbox will help keep everything fresh in my mind.
– Some of this material will be uploaded on the website – which by the way, is going to be redone within the next two months to be more like a website and less like a blog – so stay tuned for some samples of the women’s stories. There is also a lot more media (including video of prayers and debate at Dolma Ling!) that, due to very slow internet connections in the cafes of McLeod Ganj, are still fidgeting impatiently on my computer, waiting to be uploaded for all of you to see. Expect these in the next few weeks.
– Each interview will be filtered through me as well, to make sure that the language speaks in a natural, American-English way. Choekyi is a fluent English speaker, but there are very different Englishes to be found around the world. I edit as little as possible, keeping things true to the Choekyi’s original translation. This process will yield narratives that are not only educational and honest, but beautiful to read.
– I need to make a good number of beautiful bookmarks for my generous Kickstarter backers! Expect those in the mail when June rolls around.
– Continuing my supplemental research, everything is more rooted and contextualized in my mind, having spent time with the refugees themselves. This research will bridge the narratives as well as enrich the reader’s understanding of these women’s experiences. I will also reflect on my time in Dharamsala and the journey of this project.
– I hope to finish the manuscript as soon as I can – as quickly as it is possible to create something so delicate and important. My goal is the end of 2013.
– In this vein, the time has come for thinking about things that, prior to taking on Restored Voice Project, had hardly ever entered my mind: publicity, agents, publishers, and did I mention publicity? I have already got a few leads for publishers – one in Norway, one in Britain, and one in India – but you may be noticing the large, USA-shaped gap in that list. However, I am still completely confident that this book will be appealing to the publishing world, and now that I have materials, Facebook followers, and Kickstarter backers, it won’t be hard to show any dubious companies that the people want this book out there. There is demand, as well as urgency. America and Europe are starting to wake up to the continuing plight of the Tibetan people, and things in Tibet are getting steadily worse. The women’s stories are not only inspiring to read, but the human rights and environmental issues of the Tibetan genocide, and of empowering women globally, are daily gaining readership and concern. This book will ride that momentum and hopefully educate, inspire, and light up fires in the hearts of more of our compassionate brothers and sisters around the world.
So, there is RVP’s to-do list.
As I bury myself in that work and look for an additional job (so that I can pay my rent and college loans!), and enjoy being back home with my family for my 25th birthday…
I will be missing this: