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.