CategoryRevolutionize

A strange time

At a time most of my family is locked down due to the pandemic, a fortuitous road trip lands me in Covid-free Cairns. At Brother Jenkins Cafe, amidst the clatter of plates, the sigh of a cool breeze on my bare arms, I find myself not only out of my usual world, not only out of sync with driving and camping, but also not here at all. I’m deep in the Suez Crisis of 1956, when Israel took advantage…

Am I up to it?

This extended trip away comprises a week to drive to Darwin, time in Darwin, then five weeks of birding and driving through four states. I have a month in Darwin and am selfishly commandeering time most days to write up an especially demanding chapter, that of India and Israel pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of obtaining nuclear energy. The problem with tackling the early Indian story is…

Ignore the reader

Of course one should write for the ideal reader. Of course the reader of my nuclear history book wants a 300-page sweeping, clear, fascinating entertainment. But I’m writing a blockbuster. It’s turning into an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” grand saga. I didn’t plan to write it this way, nor was it clear for a long…

2021’s first month

This selfie was meant to connote steely determination on New Year’s Day, although now it’s clear I resembled a hooligan. Never mind, I need to get back to talking to myself about core aspects of life in the second year of the 20s. Firstly, let me exhibit a little self pride by saying I worked as hard as I could on real writing over January. I had a go. Did I achieve 7-8 hours of work…

2020 zooms away

In 2020 I functioned as a writer. I wrote. But more often than not, my words were just words, not at all about the project in my heart. Now we can watch 2020 vanish into the ether and the year’s writing torpor can be sloughed off.

Disorderly shards of story

I’d gathered data, organized data, and sketched out a narrative. Call it the story of a reactor accident, fate of SGR, 59, Los Angeles hills … code for a hard won storyline. It didn’t work. The data was astonishingly incomplete, I’d misread the times, and the narrative significance was something other than I’d mentally assembled over a few midnights. Today I grafted…

Building a streak #3

“Write everyday” is Godin’s third element of constructing a “streak” of productive daily practice. In a sense, I can say I adhere to this, for there isn’t a day I don’t raise pen or tap keys. But I can be wayward. Take yesterday. I rose late after insomnia and attended to another vital part of life, rushing to the gym, where I supplemented regular upper…

Building a streak #1

“Do the work every single day,” Godin advises. On the one hand, what a cliche! I remember Bryce Courtenay lecturing me: “Bum glue.” On the other hand, I work every day, but lately, the days haven’t felt right. I sat down but haven’t worked solidly. I’ve been distracted: fire, plague, coup d’etat. Well, Andres, forget all that. An afternoon. Ambient…

Summer is here

Seth Godin’s The Practice: Shipping Creative Work bristles with fresh ways of looking at creativity and work. My last month of spring was mediocre, so let me reboot for the first month of summer. Towards the end of the book, he sums up one strand of thought. “Build streaks,” he advises, by which he means establish, by hook or by crook, regularity of work. I dive back into 1958…

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