On Woodworking, Military History, and Writing.

When I started this blog in January, the hope was to sell books…lots of books.  That effort has been…disappointing, but not entirely fruitless.  However, in the meantime, I have discovered a number of things.

Now the weather has warmed up and my wood shop is moved out of my basement to my garage, I have concentrated weekends on rebuilding what I had abandoned some years ago, when I could no longer feel my hands well enough to be safe around sharp tools or even sandpaper.  Having had that issue resolved in March 2013 and having recovered enough from the surgery required, I can now go back to turning perfectly good lumber into sawdust, splinters, shop fixtures, household trim and small furniture, in that order.

But that leaves very little time (and energy) for writing, though a great deal for research.  I have sold another article to Strategy & Tactics, another to Against the Odds, had some modest book sales for both The Devil’s Own Day and Crop Duster, so I am not entirely disappointed in my personal writing career.  In my day job, while slow at this time, it has to be looking up soon as the price of copper slowly rises again.

I like building things, be they stories of people in wartime or quasi-useful widgets of wood.  I make a living out of words; I lack the skills and endurance to make one out of wood.  Yet, the creative outlet is there, and shall remain there when the weather is warm enough to work in my insulated but unheated garage, which means about mid-April to about mid-November.  Research, however, doesn’t stop.  Reading on average three books at a time (albeit slowly), and concentrating for the moment on non-military subjects, my next work I believe will be a study the battle of Belmont in the American Civil War.

Or not.  I also have to finish my article based on a bunch of WWI artifacts from a fellow named Harley Washburn, who joined the US Army in 1917 and went to France.  There’s also my article on the evolution of the cruiser in the coal-burning age, and another on Confederate Mississippi River ironclads.  Those need to be done.  Then there’s that piece I started ages ago on recovering from cervical vertebrae fusion surgery…but the end to that hasn’t been written yet.  And then there’s that ages-old essay on Pickett’s Mills (an 1864 Civil War battle in Georgia, en route to Atlanta) I really should dust off, and that other piece I started on the development of flame weapons in the 19th century, and that long-promised essay on HP Lovecraft and WWI (he tried to enlist in 1917, but somehow his family put the kibosh on that).

But in the shop I have to improve power tool storage, square off the end of my bench deck, flatten my bench plane sole, cut new headers for the front porch door (which has been waiting for about, well OK, years.  And then I want to plan something useful for my great-grandson’s Christmas present.

Oh, I’ll then take some time and write my blog…


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