Week in Review: Week 50

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Snow flurries over the Green Mountains at sunset from Randolph, VT, December 20, 2021. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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

  • Long wait for a short story, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes One of the things I’m learning from re-reading my journal entries from my first year as a freelancer is the value of a deadline. Any kind of deadline.

  • Be seeing you, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes A secret agent resigns from his service and awakens in The Village, a futuristic prison on a remote island. Everyone has a number instead of a name. Oh, yes, there’s also this strange salute: “Be seeing you.”

  • In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 11

    Reading Time: < 1 minutes Although this series may appear as yet another rabbit hole I’ve fallen down in my quest to finish a project — any project — it has several benefits.

  • Procrastination, pro-cras-tin-a-a-tion, 1979

    Reading Time: < 1 minutes I still sing the song today: Procrastination, Pro-cras-tin-a-tion! It’s making me late. It’s making me la-a-a-ter…