Long writing is something that has nagged at me for much of my adult life. Unlike what you see on TV, most of what most people who, like me, work in the law spend most of the day reading and writing, searching for a more coherent argument or a weak point in the authority being relied upon. And it carries over. If you search most of the hard drives or floppy disks I have had access to over the last thirty years, you may find notes for a more script, a plan for a TV series on beer or essays on any number of things. All half baked or less. Heck, I have written haiku about a certain sort of fast food saving a pal's life.
One of the more successful strategies for me for getting ideas past an early block has been collaborating. Right now I have three or four things on the go two of which relate to beer. Max has posted an update on what might be provisionally called "A Unified Theory of Beer Culture As Told In Song and Dance, Sarcasm and Footnotes":
...the topics that have been, or are being, discussed are: styles, health, tasting, language, micro marketing, extreme and experimental beers, collaborations. In the pipeline are value/price, myths, beer writing and blogs, evangelism, industrial vs craft and likely some more. The book has already taken to what appears to be a neighbourhood hospoda, Alan's kitchen, a tavern in 80's Canada, a Spanish bar, a Bavarian beer garden, a sensory isolation chamber, an abandoned ship, an examination room (much to my chagrin) and a lecture hall. Among all this we have met someone who might or might have not been a younger version of Alan's wife, and an irritated and vehement Ron Pattinson. God knows where else we'll be and who else we'll come across...
It is an interesting process. I had no idea Ron was going to show up. One trigger of the start of a new chapter is setting the scene. See, it is all set up as a dialogue between fiction Max and fiction me. Next up, a walk we will take from pubs in one village to the next, likely set on the path a couple hundred yards behind the poet John Milton moping along on one of his daily walks. Max will likely chuck stones and shout at the guy, telling him to lighten up. I had no idea a man could blissfully be so sweary Mary as Max - yet still make such keen observations, not always in line with mine.
Less experimental in format is the writing I am doing with Craig on Albany Ale. We've been invited to draft an article which has led to a plan for a series which might then form the basis of a book. As Albany, NY nears its 400th anniversary of brewing its not unreasonable for a work of some small heft to be in the plans. Stan has picked up the head scratch related to one aspect of the puzzle. Something that nags at the back of my mind is that the hop Cluster shows joint American and European ancestors and that it originated in the Hudson valley of NY, site of a joint American and European colonial enterprise in the 1600s. Not sure how wild crossing, traditional husbandry or more formal breeding might be at play. An email from OCB wiki contributor Jess Kidden added a twist: hops may have been a controlled product to be bought by 1600s Dutch colonists on the east coast of America rather than growing their own. So was the intercontinental melding that makes a hop that, in the 1840s, mastered the world, planned or inadvertent? Or did it happen at all. No idea.
I had wondered what might come of the new reality but all might be well. Just wish I had thought to shamelessly self promote the apparently appropriate breaking of that "off the shelf" story. But, then again, taking the proper time to do the job might avoid the need to do an anonymous "we" back stroke later on. Did a committee draft that comment post? Sad.
Time will tell. Things are progressing well and I hope will inspire getting other things off the floppy disk at the back of the desk drawer or even out of the junk box of the mind.