a note. from the editor.

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Like any editor, I worry and fuss over my book projects like they are babies, hoping nothing falls through the cracks because they inevitably do, which explains the obsessive reading and the editorial insistence to “send it over to me one more time” while the baby is rushing headlong through multiple phases of publishing puberty.  Ask any editor, they will admit the same plague. At some point, I have to kiss it goodbye and wish it all the best.

But this book, perfection or not, deserves just the raw dish it served me.  Editor hat aside, I found myself in a rare place with this project … often reading ahead, shifting my gear into neutral so that I could take in the terrain of Aric S. Queen, vagabond traveler with a penchant for narrow escapes and artistic success of providential margins.  This book manages a conspicuous rip through the cloaked underbelly of China while pulling its reader through an intensely personal journey of a soul-baring backpacker.  If you don’t like the F word, don’t read this book. If you like spitting on ducks, don’t read this book.  If you love China, don’t read this book. If you are wondering what China was hiding during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, read this book.  If you have a nagging feeling China sent a clear message to the rest of the world with all those synchronized drummers, read this book. If you want some insider nuggets you won’t find anywhere else on traveling through Asia, read this book. But you will get more than you bargained for. (Ie. Brothels, Opium, The Himalayas, and a lot of beer and noodles.  But you didn’t hear that here … )

What you heard was this: You will not like everything you read in this book, you will pee in your pants laughing, you will be surprised at this man’s quest for love, and you will sleep better at night knowing a man as fearless as Aric S. Queen exists.

So, before Anderson Cooper and the rest of the world get their hands on Shanghai [Exile] Diaries, buy a signed copy and invite this man to dinner.

Sunny Cherme Cooper

The Proof Pen

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