A ship’s launch doesn’t always correlate with its maiden voyage. Still, it’s momentous enough an occasion to smash a bottle of champagne on its bow as a kind of christening. And given that I’m currently living in an east London neighborhood called “Bow,” it seems oddly fortuitous that I can finally, at long last, show Prismatext to the world. I don’t have any champagne, but maybe a bottle of whiskey will do.
It’s been nearly two years since I started developing a process to bring blended language books to the masses. All the while, I kept telling friends and family “almost!” because, for much of the time, the project felt like it was. I’m sure that my ever-patient and indefatigable Lax has also wondered whether or not Prismatext will ever see the light of day. But even if she did, she never once hinted at it, and has supported me through the entire journey, along with its many hills, valleys, storms, and sunshine.
There’s a Korean proverb that I keep coming back to:
Over the mountains, mountains.
Every time I set out to conquer what I thought was the summit of the project, I found more steep slopes ahead. Many who face obstacles of this kind turn around or abandon them, which is also what I’ve done with any number of side projects (no looking at my Github, please).
But this one was different. Like a dog with a bone, I gnawed away at it, one commit at a time. Whenever I started over—which was often—I dove into nascent folder directories with a renewed excitement, more sure than before that I’d finally begun to understand the problem correctly, and thus could work out an even better solution faster. What I have for you now is not one solution to a problem, but many solutions to many problems. But even these solutions might only reveal new puzzles, and I’d wager I’ll continue to press on ever further into the labyrinth, towards a hopeful center.
I don’t attribute this massive project (or its myriad products) to an innate tenacity, or honed discipline, or even Old World work ethic. For me, it was always about an unfettered, obsessive, borderline-unhealthy curiosity. I couldn’t help it. Prismatext was, as they say, inevitable. I feel lucky that it chose me.
I’m proud of it. I hope you enjoy these books. I hope they instill in you a similar fierce inquisitiveness about this beautiful world.
There is no shortage of inquiry and intrigue in the ether. May yours find you.