Saturday, May 28, 2011

Recruiting talent

It's something of an open secret that I've been considering writing a book about my time in Afghanistan. I'm not sure there's a market for another State Department PRT memoire out there (it kind of kills me that We Meant Well got there first), but I was so captivated by my time in southwest Afghanistan and so genuinely enjoy writing that it seems like it's worth a shot.

(Commander Killjoy was giving me a hard time about taking leave again, and I told him that I needed to plunk myself down on a beach in Thailand with an umbrella-laden fruity drink and try to get some work done on a draft of the book. "Don't you think you'd have more to write about if you actually spent a little time here?" he replied).

I'm not sure I'll even be able to get the book cleared by State -- I've seen a ton of interesting things here that didn't make the blog, both because I try not to talk much about work and because they felt sensitive in nature -- and State, particularly in this post-Wikileaks era, is hyper-sensitive about such things. But again, it seems like it's worth a shot.

That said, trying to crank out 120,000 words into a vacuum is daunting, particularly when I'm so pessimistic about actually being published. Simultaneously, posting potential book chapters on this blog seems foolish, on the order of why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free? (I feel like that metaphor is maybe not entirely appropriate here, which wouldn't bother me in the slightest if I hadn't disclosed that I'm considering writing a book a scant three paragraphs ago).

The point here is that I'm considering starting a new, clandestine blog on which to post potential book chapters. I'm not 100 percent committed to the idea yet (and I frankly fear that talking about writing a book when it's still in idea form is a bit like disclosing a pregnancy too early -- doing so is courting disaster). That said, if things do indeed get off the ground, I would probably want a small cadre of people -- five to ten ish -- to join Team Reading and to tell me candidly when things weren't as interesting as I remember them having been, or when I'm too in the weeds on Afghan politics, or when the paragraphs just aren't flowing and things frankly just aren't working.

A few people are doomed to be recruited for this activity -- I'm looking at you, EmailFromTheEmbassy -- and there are a few others I'm hoping I can recruit (C_Girl over at Hilarity in Shoes, and my Bohemian Artist friends, for example).

But if this actually comes to fruition -- and it certainly is possible that it won't -- then I'd welcome a few more pairs of eyes to look things over. I will likely not reach out to anyone, since I feel that being on Team Reading will be more annoying than not annoying -- but if you're interested in being on the review committee, drop me an email (link on the top right of the blog). Some things will be recycled from this blog (albeit touched up
and edited and maybe reshuffled); other things will be new, and possibly eye-wateringly dry. Regardless, I expect brutal honesty.

All of this is very tentative -- no promises all around -- but for some reason it seems important to me to lay the groundwork now before I go any further.


Dakota said...

Don't all raise your hands at once. Come on now.

scdoman11 said...

I'm a fellow FSO and love your stuff. My e-mail won't let me use the link to contact you. Can you write me at scdoman at yahoo dot com?

Donna said...

It's about time. Count me in. Or else.

Also, have you read S!#t My Dad Says? Because I'm thinking there's a market for some similar words of wisdom from Commander Killjoy. I love that guy.

Rachel C said...

I'd absolutely love to. I'm just as much of a reading nerd as I was in high school. Hit me up if you want my help!

Jill said...

That's awesome! You crack me up. Best of luck!

MikeThorlin said...

I'd love to help...

Iverson said...

Mark - I've loved the blog. Happy to help however you see fit.

RMealer said...

How much does this gig pay?

GWB said...

The blog is great! The idea is good.
I think what you need is more ideas from non-government civilian types like me... regular people who have no idea what military or government service is like... but would be a key segment of the book buyers. I'll start working on ideas. Dr. Dan.. afficionado of the skeptical bureaucrat and former army contractor.

GWB said...

I think you should writing on two different tracks. (Think shadow government.) The blog needs to keep the same structure and form. The book
can be related but should say the things that you and your other actors cannot say now but will be able to in the future. Right now you are a great spokesperson for the current strategy. I'd like more info on your current location (map of area would help) and how it relates to the larger general area you are in, others doing similar things etc. Thanks! drdan

hannah said...

Am I too late to volunteer for the reading party?

j said...

I am happy to volunteer for Team Reading. It should be noted I have no qualifications and I read at a 6th grade level, but if any spreadsheets are included I am the right guy to review this portion.

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