Somehow it’s been three weeks since my last confession, I mean, post. These days I lose track of time a lot. In fact, I constantly have to check the calendar to see what day it is, and even, sometimes, what month. To be honest, my life has become rather a blur. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is still before the jury.
Yeah, I know. Everyone else is busy, so I should stop whining. I can’t even imagine what life would be like if I had a normal 9 to 5 job on top of everything else. I know my definition of swamped might not match up with others’ definition. But still. Well, you get it. A quick ramble of what I’ve been up to when I’m not writing for this blog.
I’m writing a book. The book I’ve been researching and writing in my mind for years is finally getting typed onto paper, or at least the computer screen. As of this morning I’ve finished Chapters 1 through 11 and a little way into 12, of what will be 14 chapters plus a still unwritten Introduction and Epilogue. And a few photos that I still need to dig up. The manuscript is due to the publisher by June 1st. My intention had been to finish the draft by May 1st to give me time to revise, rewrite, and reconsider why I took this project on, but I’m a bit behind.
There are four other books (or is it five) in various stages of writing. Which ones I finish, and in what order, remains to be seen. Once the book under contract (above) is finished, I’ll kick over into trying to finish one of the books in progress. Oh, and get the marketing campaign for (above) book off the ground for an expected February 2022 release.
And start researching the next book I want to write.
Somehow, I’m still reading. I had been reading 100+ books a year but cut that back to 75 in both 2019 and 2020 (both of which I exceeded). My goal for 2021 is to read only 50 books because, well, see “writing” above. So far I’m on track.
Combining the reading and writing is book reviews. I write two book reviews per quarter for the Lincoln Group of DC. I’ve written three book reviews for the Lincoln Herald. I occasionally write book reviews for other venues, although I’m holding back until the book (above) is finished. Yesterday I received a request to read a new Lincoln book, which they will send me, and write a review for the aforementioned Herald. Another publisher says they are sending me a book to review for The Lincolnian newsletter, although I haven’t received it yet.
I’m on the book award committee of the Abraham Lincoln Institute. Sometime by the summer I’ll start receiving books to read and evaluate for our annual award. Last year I received around 18 books; the previous year it was only a dozen, so I’m not sure how many I’ll receive this year.
As long as we’re talking about the Abraham Lincoln Institute (aka, ALI), I just became Treasurer for the organization, which also means becoming part of the Executive Committee that makes most of the decisions. Following the “trial by fire” method of acclimation, this happened literally the same week we started our annual symposium series (virtual again this year), which means I’ll immediately have to write checks out to eight separate speakers. Since it’s tax season, I also have to file nonprofit organization tax exemption forms. And pay the website vendor. And open a new account for a new scholarship fund we’re about to start. And figure out where to store the files in my house.
The storage thing is no small matter. My house already would not qualify for any of these “minimalist” magazine spreads, especially when it comes to books. Yesterday added to that in a big way. Two long-time members of the Lincoln Group of DC (aka, LGDC) are offloading their hoards of LGDC books and miscellany. One of them dropped by yesterday with a car full of books (which was fairly accurately described as “approximately 4′ x 4′ x 4′”), which I recall from my railsplitter days as half a cord. They are now in my garage. My car is relegated to the driveway. The other member is still cataloging their stash (plus some large portion of another 100 in their personal book collection to be donated to LGDC), so that will join the stack. Maybe I’ll have a full cord! The member yesterday said they had been storing books, which are continually augmented with new donations, for 20 years. No way these are clogging up my garage for 20 years; the goal is to get them sold off and/or donated to schools or wherever they can meet our educational goals rather than simply take up space. Which means I’ll have to figure out how to do that.
Okay, deep breath. We’re barely getting started.
ALI isn’t the only organization where I’m taking on executive duties. The same week I picked up the checkbook I find out that the current LGDC President is moving out of the area, which means I’ll be taking on the presidential duties a year before I expected. I’ve been the Vice President for Outreach and Education for a while and highly active in the group, so this will be on top of my normal duties. Part of those “normal” duties has been to develop a long-term outreach plan that we’ve only barely begun to solidify and implement. Next year is also the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial, so we’ll be heavily involved in related activities. And now that will fall to me and the LGDC Board.
I’ve also been highly active providing content for the new LGDC website, Lincolnian.org. The site itself is still a work in progress. The outgoing president has indicated he wants to stay involved in the group in whatever way is possible from two time zones away; one way is to keep working with the web designer to get it fully functional, a problem exacerbated by the old provider. Our newsletter editor is now also the website editor-in-chief and there is a small (three-person) team of writers (jncluding me), which should help spread out the work.
Oh, then there is this Hot White Snow blog and the blog on my author website, http://www.davidjkent-writer.com.
Let’s see, anything else?
Oh right. Three LGDC members (yes, including myself), and organized by another LGDC member, are teaming up with the Illinois State Society for a panel on “why we honor Abraham Lincoln.” The panel is designed to inform the discussion on Chicago’s recent decision to evaluate the appropriateness of 41 historical statues, including 5 Lincoln statues. The two issues most often mentioned to question honoring Lincoln are treatment of Native Americans and the adequateness of emancipation. I’ll be handling the Native American question, which I’ve had to become conversant enough on to discuss, reminiscent of my consulting days where we became experts overnight, only to have to be expert on something totally different overnight the next week. In any case, the program will be recorded and made available to the Chicago Statue Commission, as well as relevant organizations and educational institutions.
We’re also in discussions to develop a four-part course on Lincoln for SCORE in the fall.
Okay, that’s enough. There’s more, but this has been a long enough ramble.
Plus I need to rush to the post office to ship copies of my previous Lincoln book I sold on eBay, then come back home to do the ALI tax forms and write checks, then work on Chapter 12, then….
Why does Emerson, Lake & Palmer and “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends” spring to mind?
David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.