Old Manuscripts Made New
One more facet of writing, and publishing, has to do with old manuscripts. As in unfinished or never submitted for publication. I'm thinking many serious writers have a special spot, or hiding place for manuscripts that have not been picked up or read in years. Hashing out the causation of that situation is not the theme of this article. Making use of said old manuscript(s), is. I speak here of my own example of a manuscript I wrote fifteen years ago, and published last fall.
The original manuscript was written in the winter/spring of 1997-1998 while my wife and I lived in Mexico. Mismaloya to be exact. The plan at that time was to live in Mexico for an undetermined amount of time, travel about and do our art. Romantically delicious, and of course it was all that, however, reality had other ideas to entertain. Not much of a spoiler here as the book has to do with the essentials of traveling about in Mexico. Our personal traveling through thirteen states of Mexico shapes the final functional aspect of the material. I don't get into personal detail nor our lives as part of that material, as spicey as that could have been. Although, a spicey story about an intrepid wandering writer with his trusty artistic woman in a foreign land. . . Indie writers today will recognize the original copyright date as being pre-digital, pre-POD printing. Back then one went through the submission ordeals that no longer worked all that well. With very high publishing walls to scale at the time, along with swiftly changing currents in my personal life, this book sat quietly on a shelf for fifteen years. If this were fiction there wouldn't be much to alter, for the time difference. This book is non-fiction of course, although it is not a travel guide; per se. It is a sort of personal guide for world travelers who want to live and travel in Mexico for extended periods of time. What you need and what you don't. Customs, expectations, rituals and even the Mordita, or "The Bite", which are all flavoring in the stew of travels throughout Mexico. The emphasis on this book is not my tooting another horn for a new book. The point of blogging on this book, is the manuscript's age, and the pertinence of printing it now. How many writers have 'old' manuscripts, unfinished or finished, that take up a spot on a shelf or in a drawer, just lying there, pitiful and all. It need not be that way. Speaking for myself, which is the best way to speak, I am of the camp of intuitive writers which are focused more on the book's message than on potential readers of that view or message. This book is for adventurers who prefer the path off the beaten trails where well healed players reside. Travelers without unlimited means that want to find a trail all of their own that is accommodating and satisfying. As a writer, it is up to me to give that to them. Although there have been changes taking place in Mexico over the past fifteen years, so much has remained the same. The book got the updated editing necessary to bring the reader up to current situations, such as the change in the free zone distance, currency exchange rates and other dynamic variables of travel. Beyond editing outdated material, I wrote a prologue that brought the reader up to date on the social changes that could viably affect them during their travels in Mexico. The framework of the book continues to be relevant, being it is focused more on understanding the relationship of the traveler and Mexican culture and expectations, than on what a traveler might find during the travels. Although that is covered in more than one part of the book. I also stand by the book's thesis, of it being safe to be in Mexico at this time, albeit with some additional cautions on the traveling part. I stand by the material as it is presented, and plan on further adventures in Mexico in the future. A hypocrite I am not. The moral to the story is that if you have an old manuscript lying around, and, you are not currently wading through a new manuscript, I encourage picking it up again, taking the framework of the work and rewriting it from today's point of view. If it was worth writing then it is worth finishing today. Good writing does not have a sell-by date.
Old Manuscript Made New
"A Gringo's Tour of Mexico"