- This page is about me. If you would like to learn more about this website, please visit About Roger Presents or the contributors page.
I was born and raised in the flats of Middle America, though I’m now living in Shanghai and have seen many places since I left that corn and soy streaked landscape eight years ago. You may be wondering how I ended up here in China, and I guess you could say I’ve made some missteps concerning the company I’ve kept—it’s been about eighteen months since I landed here in China, disheveled, lost and possessing nothing but someone else’s briefcase, their passport and a large stack of useless Zimbabwean currency (thanks Phil, you assface).
But I’ve got a resilient Midwestern streak that won’t quit (didn’t count on that, did you Phil?), and things are looking up. I began my sojourn here in China in the hills of Guangxi. I awoke, suddenly alone, in the back of an ox cart winding its way uphill on a small dirt path. I was surrounded by rice terraces, it was morning, and I was so completely displaced and shook that it was a few moments before I was able to fully comprehend the magnitude of the terraces and the quiet, unassuming grace of the staggered mountainsides. And more than almost anything else, it has been this same grace that has kept me moving and conquering in this vast, strange country.
I traipsed from Guangxi to Sichuan, aided largely by the poor, hard working peasants of the disappearing Chinese countryside, many of whom can continue to claim my friendship and recall the time when I was mute, lost and staggering. Now, the better part of two years later I can express myself clearly in three dialects, have repaid and revisited those most dear to me, and my most recent trek across the countryside was rewarding, joyful and lacking any of the despair I felt so severely when I first arrived.
I began my slog towards success in Chengdu, where I worked with a man named Ramses as a part of a small-time DVD pirating ring, an operation which, though disjointed, rewarded me in a number of ways. My successes in Sichuan saw me off to Ningbo, where my experience was significantly less rosy but nonetheless ultimately positive, and from there I was only a bus ride from Shanghai, a place I had heard about and long yearned to see.
Shortly after my arrival in Shanghai, I found work with a small, family owned couch and ottoman delivery service and was taking my rest in the evenings on a loveseat on the floor of the showroom. Though the work was hard, the hours long and the pay low, I soon found myself delivering furniture to and standing on the perimeter of a social-strata that I had long held as my ultimate pursuit, and which I believed would allow for significant upward social mobilization. That belief has proved well-founded, as I’ve since found myself lodging, gainful employment and a new, trustworthy friend in my current landlord, employer and confidant, Knox. I work as a handyman, of sorts, and I spend most of my time expanding, repairing and tearing down different parts of the apartment I now live in and share with Knox. And though the skies here are grey, I find my days filled with a sense of optimism for what is to come.
So here I am, back again, once again filled with the desire to share. In my travels I’ve managed to accrue a rather large community of brilliant, creative people, and their friendships and continued correspondences have sustained me through many troubled times, this most recent debacle being the latest in stream of many unfortunate events, a long streak of luck that has seemed to follow the timbre of my voice like a rabid, pavlovian cloak of misfortune. (Thanks to Phil, the streak continues—I hope you get a yeast infection, you goddamn bastard.)
But I emerge stronger, emboldened by the knowledge that there are very few things we cannot do. It is good to be here.