Friday, October 2, 2009

Back home; writing today

Got home at 4 p.m. yesterday, went to bed about 4:30 p.m., and woke up at 6:30 p.m. because the kids were arguing over . . . well, something. So I sat down and wrote 2,000 words about my Kentucky trip, not even finishing the first part, and went back to bed about midnight.

Woke up at 8 a.m. and my wife was getting ready to leave for Ohio with three of the kids -- the 17-year-old twin boys and 6-year-old Reagan -- which will leave me here with 10-year-old Jefferson and 8-year-old Emerson for the weekend.

Saturday night is homecoming at River Valley High, where son Bob's girlfriend Portia goes to school and this trip back to my wife's hometown is sort of a birthday gift for Bob. He and twin brother Jim turned 17 the day I left for Kentucky, so this Ohio trip will be cool for them.

Now, I've got to sit down and write, write, write. Dan Riehl noticed a while ago my tendency to write long-form stuff on the blog, which is unusual, since blogs are usually a short-form medium. But if all you ever do is short stuff, it becomes a habit and you get rusty at doing longer writing.

The thing that's addictive about blogging is the instant feedback loop. You write, you publish, other bloggers link your post, people comment, you watch the Site Meter for reaction. There is a spontaneity and immediacy to the experience -- the virtual community, etc. -- which is hard to explain to someone who isn't a blogger.

By comparison, long-form writing is rather lonesome. It's just you and the manuscript, with no feeedback. Being both a blogger and a writer, then, allows me to toggle back and forth between the two experiences. I write columns and articles for various publications, while taking occasional breaks to comment on developing news stories.

However, this Kentucky trip is going to take a long time to write. As I wrote (somewhere) the other day, I've got at least 10,000 words worth of notes, etc., and given my usual 400-word-per-hour rate of composition, that's 25 hours of work, of which I've completed five hours. If I want to have the whole thing complete by Sunday -- before my notes "go cold" and my memory of the experience begins to fade -- I'll have to keep at it pretty steady for the next couple of days. Two 10-hour days of writing, you see.

All of this to explain why, as much as I'd love to comment on Dave Letterman's startling confession, I'll have to try to avoid such distractions. Not entirely, of course -- you could, for example, understand why a habitual philanderer would be so hostile to the happily married mother of five, Sarah Palin -- but I've got more important work to do.

Among the important work that must be done is to thank the people who hit the tip jar to pay for the Kentucky trip. (Read my blogging about the Sparkman case and my Kentucky trip.) I've gotten waaaaay behind on my thank-you notes to tip-jar hitters. If I can ever find a good blog intern, I mean to fix that . . .


  1. It has been close to a year since I have made a comment on any blog. I am what is known as a Lurker. Just wanted you to know that I check in 2, 3, 4 times a day.
    Keep at it!

    Dom L.
    Dothan, Al

  2. As a fellow father of many kids, the first thing I thought was, "Doesn't he have six potential blog interns?"

    Cheers, and keep up the great work.

  3. I love the "long blogging". Sometimes it's so good I don't want it to end. (No sexual metaphor intended.....)

  4. "Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."

    -Robert Heinlein

    ......N. O'Brain