First, some links, mostly stuff I have been forwarding on to other folks or have had forwarded to me over the last few weeks :
Azar Gat on The End of the End of History.
An article on Canadian superheroes that somehow doesn't mention Wolverine. Absurd.
A review from Claremont on the latest books from Max Boot and Frederisk Kagan.
And an oldie but goodie: Donald Rumsfeld orders breakfast at Denny's.
Second, I feel I must write something about not writing something. It's funny the way production can disappear, even as you work longer and harder. For most of the last six months, I worked well beyond the 40-hour week on a project for my old job. The project is not quite done, and I do not know if it will ever see the light of day, but I do not regret the time spent or the lessons learned in the process. (The subject covered was artillery and close air support as fire support in American military history.)
What bothers me is that the process itself seemed to consume me more than anything I've ever done. Days and weeks flew by with little or nothing to show for the very real work I was doing. And since my primary objective was not getting done at the pace I expected, guilt kept me from doing just about anything else. If I couldn't get the big job done, how could I justify working on the smaller stuff? I couldn't, so I didn't. You know the feeling--it became work, hard work, to click the friggin' button on the mouse and open a new window And here we are, nearing the end of June, on my eighth or ninth entry of the year.
Here's the thing, as they say: I handled it all wrong. The truth is that lack of productivity, any kind of productivity, begets lack of productivity. Blogging, diary writing, attempts at op-eds, book reviewing, short and long article writing, book submitting, lesson writing, building things, playing with the kids, taking loved ones on dates, taking care of the house and lawn, and so on, are all productivity. For me, anyway, engaging in blogging, diary writing, attempts at op-eds, book reviewing, short and long article writing, book submitting, lesson writing, building things, playing with the kids, taking loved ones on dates, taking care of the house and lawn, and so on, does not make me less productive, but rather kicks me into high gear. One leads to the other. And every successfully completed little project that gets a little feedback, makes me want to finish another one, and another one, and another one. And at the end of it all, there is something to show for it--a body of work that is, at very least, a catalogue of a time in my life and what I thought of issues big and small, personal and professional.
I think all of us lose sight of that from time to time. Some of us lose sight of it permanently, and decide that our big project is so much more important than everything else that everything else doesn't deserve our time. I lost sight of the big picture over the last six months, and I don't like where it led me, either personally or professionally. The new job, the giant deep breath that came when I let the other project go, has helped me see where I've been, and where I want to go.
So take from this what you will. This might all just be me. Whatever the case, expect to see more from me here, and, hopefully, elsewhere.