June 15th, 2009
Back in the day, my Dad’s favorite technique to get me to do something a little beyond my self-assessed abilities was to “make a deal with me.” He’d say, I’ll buy this model ship kit that you wish to possess and place it on top of the refrigerator, and I’ll make a deal with you: you can have it when you finish XYZ book/project. THAT’S how I ended up diving into John Toland’s 1000-page history of the Pacific War from the Japanese point of view (in paperback, thank god) while on the bus on a FIFTH-GRADE field trip…starting with 200-odd pages of 1930s Japanese nationalist politics, which at least was full of plots, assassinations, coup attempts, ritual suicides, and other exciting stuff. I finished it, too, after a couple of months, and it was a hell of an antidote to a whole lot of flag-wavey military “history” I was destined to read later.
Alas, not all of those model ships themselves got the same full and complete treatment, and quite a few languished on the shelf with that last 10% remaining undone. One (big) motorized PT boat sat in the closet for years, never able to get its motors mounted and itself under way, though I had managed to glue a very nice 57mm anti-tank gun from some other kit to the foredeck, actually a reasonably historically accurate hack (not bad for a ten-year old) and even to scale.
But I digress — which is exactly the point. So remember that Obama article series? A friend wrote in on Friday to ask for a link to the concluding piece, promised since March or so, assuming that he just couldn’t find it. And of course he couldn’t find it because it’s sitting safely right here on my hard drive, reveling in its current status as my Unfinished Symphony — though at the moment it’s more of a minuet, or a haiku…perhaps a limerick, only without the rhyme. Anyway, we don’t want to leave that series with those last words unwritten, particularly with the PDF conference only a couple of weeks away now.
So I’ll make a deal with you: I’ll write it this week, if you all promise to read it. Not bad, eh? Your part’s the easy one…. So: draft (to myself) by Wednesday; final publication Thursday. On my honor. Now mush, doggie, mush!