Two years might seem a long time, and most instances it is. But what experience I have, in coming into contact with the process of producing a print encyclopaedia, it isn't that long at all. It's a task of Herculean levels: commissioning, chasing, reading, reviewing, re-drafting, and most of all it can't be sent for publication until everything, and I mean everything, is in.
This is my second commission for the publication. Curiously my first commission was for this, the international volume. But having completed it, I was asked if I'd be happy to move it to the 'EPMOW Genres: Caribbean and Latin America' volume. Flattered to be recognised as a cultural insider, I said "yes". This left an unfulfilled entry in the 'International' volume, which once again I accepted.
What I failed to appreciate was how much more of a challenge it would prove to be.
- The international entry had to offer a complementary voice
There were already two entries on salsa: one in the North American volume by Chris Washburne, and the other, mine, in the Caribbean and South American one.
- Most research was Latino-centric
The vast proportion of publications in the field were by researchers in North America, some of whom were of Latin American extraction, which were re-workings of their postgraduate theses.
- International salsa is less explored
The practice of salsa in the international field differs significantly to that in Latin American, and is an area of research which is currently under-developed.
I don't know how this will be received. The approach I took is novel (it had to be) based on the difference in context, and lack of suitable analytical tools. What is certain, is that there'll be lots of to-ing and fro-ing until publication.
Right now, I'm just enjoying the peace.