A mountain emitting terrible noises was said to be in labor. But, as people watched to see what would happen, all they saw come out of it was a mouse.“A Mountain in Labor,” Fables of Aesop
After months of research and writing about the back story to the invention of Bubble Wrap, this week I finally published … a two-minute read.
What’s up with that?
A couple of things, really. First, the complete narrative so far comes to nearly 5,000 words, or nearly 20 minutes to read. That’s more than most people want to spend on a single blog post, and more than they will turn to for a series.
Second, it involves a large amount of original research that I will be disclosing for the first time in my coming interview for The History Channel. Why spill it to the world for free online? Why not publish it myself in book or article form after the production airs?
So I offered what I called the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version. That hearkens back to my intern days at the RD, and also to the condensed books they published for so many years. The condensed books (and articles) told the story in a shorter form. That’s what I’ve done here.
Elsewhere behind the scenes this week, I added a couple of more journal entries from my early writing career. These will post over the next few weeks to ease the pressure of producing during the holidays. (It’s a trick I learned from “evergreens” at the newspaper.)
I’ve also been listening to more podcasts about writing, and to the audiobook version of “The Self Delusion” by Gregory Burns. It delves into identity and has special relevance to writers. I’ll review that here soon.
Oh, and the moral of that Aesop fable: Don’t make a big fuss over nothing.
In case you missed it …
Top-of-the-head inventory, 1979
Reading Time: 2 minutes “Items in Stock” was, in truth, a misnomer. Some were complete, or ready for a final draft or a rewrite. Others were ideas or characters in search of a plot.
Award-winning coverage? (1979)
Reading Time: 3 minutes Newspapers have associations, which sponsor competitions. But it’s a long trip from “thinking of sending it” to actually receiving an award.
A dead-end job? (1979)
Reading Time: 2 minutes Now, Howard. Listen carefully. It’s important to be honest with a potential employer. But there’s such a thing as being TOO honest.
No realistic understanding, 1979
Reading Time: 2 minutes Know what your work is worth. Not knowing may mean either you won’t get the job, or you’ll be undercutting yourself.