The Khasi Hills of Northeast India are one of the most culturally fascinating places on Earth. Here, people grow bridges from the roots of trees , have songs for names, and have learned to adapt to some of the rainiest weather on the planet. Hundreds of villages, each with a unique history and often a separate language, lie hidden in the depths of steep, jungle-clad gorges, largely ignored by the outside world.
It's a place worth writing about.
I've already published a short book on the region called The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills .
While I'm reasonably happy with that book, it still left much, if not most, of what could be written about travelling in the Khasi Hills unsaid. That means there's plenty left to talk about, and much more to explore.
My plan is to write a sequel to The Green Unknown called (tentatively) Through the Valleys of Living Bridges. While The Green Unknown provided a kind of introduction to the region, Valleys will be a more in-depth account of a single adventure: an attempt to trek from West to East across the five principle canyon systems of the southern Khasi Hills, searching for living root bridges and documenting and photographing what I find along the way.
The book will be written in the same style as The Green Unknown. I plan to do the trek in early 2019 and be finished writing the book by later in the year. However, I'll have certain sections of prose done before that.
The book will be between 100,000 to 120,000 words long, which is a typical length for a novel. I plan to make it fully illustrated, with brand new photos taken during the trek. [For more specific info about the planned content of the book, please scroll down to the Notes section].
What your donations will help with are on the ground expenses, including guide fees (where there are guides!), donations to local government, transportation fees, a certain amount of equipment (don't worry, I won't go nuts buying the most expensive trekker gear possible...going into remote villages looking like a walking Cabela's catalog is a terrible idea!), occasional hotel fees, food, etc. The aim is for most of your donations to wind up being recirculated in the region's local economy.
Anyone who donates will have their name mentioned in a thank you in the introduction. Anyone who donates $15 or over will receive a free arc copy of the book once it's finished (this will be an e-book, with your choice of Word, .pdf, Mobi, e-pub, etc.) For $25, I'll send you sample chapters as I write them (certain parts of the book will be written before I leave for India).
The trek is certain to be rather a tough undertaking: drawing a squiggle on Google Earth makes the route I'm attempting look like a fairly manageable 100 miles, but, from past experience, the terrain, trail conditions, navigation/cultural issues, and, perhaps most importantly, weather, will make covering that distance much more of a challenge than it looks...though, also, more interesting, and fun to read about...success or failure, there's going to be a story.
Please visit my websites at https://patrickrogersauthor.wordpress.com/ and https://livingrootbridges.com/ for more information on past and future projects.
Here's more about The Green Unknown on Goodreads: goodreads
Thanks a (metric) ton!
A FEW ADDITIONAL NOTES ON WHAT THE NEW BOOK WILL INCLUDE:
A: In The Green Unknown, I made a conscious decision to focus on just one or two locals (my friends from Rangthylliang Village). This was because of word constraints, my thinking being that it would be better to draw a few characters well than many poorly. However, with more space, the new book will be more character intensive.
B: In terms of its structure, Valleys will be simple. It'll begin with an introduction that I'll write before going to India (this will be an essay tentatively entitled: "Why do this?") There will be a (short) introduction to the Khasi Hills, and also a few chapters on preparing to set out. Mostly, the book will be structured around the trek, though with other, more general information wound through it, especially village histories and stuff about local languages.
C: Regarding Living Root Bridges, I'm going to have several chapters devoted to specific examples. Each root bridge is very different, and they all have unique physical circumstances. Instead of concentrating most of the material about root bridges in just a few chapters, as I did in The Green Unknown, I'll have material about root bridges throughout the book.
D: My intention is, if possible, to make this book more photo heavy. I'm aiming for two photos a chapter, with shorter and more numerous chapters than in The Green Unknown.
E: Regarding my Living Root Bridge Project, the trek will be a continuation of that. One of the objectives of the trek is to go to several places which I know almost nothing about and see what information about root bridges turns up. I’ll add whatever new information I gather to what I’ve collected since 2016. Also, the trek will provide an opportunity to observe the changes that certain root bridges have undergone since earlier treks in 2015 and 2016.
Patrick A Rogers