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The Tinkered Mind
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January 12th, 2022
I’ve been running deep, as the saying goes with submarines. Exactly six months ago, Tinkered Thinking stopped posting new content. There was still a steady stream of tweets on twitter, but as for the main platform here, all went dark.
Truth is, I had a project that I had been working on for a couple years come to a culmination and it simply required all of my time, attention and focus to get off the ground. And frankly, I couldn’t really think about anything else. Anticipating this stage in the project, I thought I’d have some interesting thoughts as I experienced it, but alas, I remember feeling increasingly stale when it came to: what should I write? (The project is doing quite nicely, in case you’re wondering.)
Six months later, I can confidently say that far more time has elapsed than I anticipated or intended. But just as good habits can have momentum, so too can a good habit’s absence. To be frank, I haven’t prepared at all, and I’ve only thought about Tinkered Thinking’s resurrection in a tertiary way. But damn, six months feels like a good number, and if I don’t start then and get rolling again, then perhaps I risk never restarting at all?
And what exactly would that mean? What if I simply call it a day and pretend I’ve tied a bow on this pet project?
Well, for one, there’s at least 3 additional books which are fully written that are unreleased, and considering how utterly shocked I was with the success of the first book: Volume I of the Lucilius Parables, it seems like a damn shame not to put in a little extra work to make these other books available. (And to be totally honest, Volume II of the Lucilius Parables is definitely better than Volume I - no joke, and that ain’t skeezy marketing, I genuinely mean it.)
There’s also the issue of Lucilius. He’s definitely the highlight of Tinkered Thinking, and while many of the whimsical non-fiction writings on Tinkered Thinking have resonated with people, the short stories are by far the favorite part.
So what am I to do? Leave Lucilius with just one skimpy volume of 50 stories published? There’s two more volumes waiting in the wings, but beyond that: are the wanderings of Lucilius done?
Well, no. I’ve definitely got more stories hibernating in that wet tangle in my head - I can feel them. But I don’t see them and hear them unless I actively go looking for them. Not only that, I think it’s more than feasible to do at least 5 volumes. That’s 250 stories. And with that many, perhaps there will be enough really good ones to make a very nice, very large, coffee-table style “best-of”. I have a vision of exactly what it would look like in mind, and like many of my ideas, my soul gets restless and a little itchy until I see it in the real world.
So, it does really feel like a betrayal of Lucilius if I were to leave him where he stands right now (though he’d no doubt be content).
The most important factor wrapped up in this conundrum is that I simply miss writing. It’s the easiest part about Tinkered Thinking. Once the words begin to appear on the page, it’s a bit like I’m in a pleasant dream, or watching a movie, but one that I can alter, rewind, edit, recast and mold to suit the fancy of my mental whim. I don’t actually do this rewinding and editing too much though. Part of the curiosity wrapped up in the kernel that birthed Tinkered Thinking is a question of whether or not it’s possible to get better at ‘first drafts’ - to make them feel like second nature, and work towards making them a first nature.
Contrary to this pure satisfaction, however, is the podcast. It was difficult in the beginning and I thought I’d learn to love it, but after 1,000 episodes recorded, I just simply hate doing it. Always, it feels like the biggest chore and I have to drag my whole being through the process. Podcasts are sexy, at least right now. And there’s quite a few examples to show that if you stick with it, it can turn into something. I’ll have to check on the automated voice software I was using for the last few dozen and see if the process is any smoother. It was definitely a lot quicker, but it still needed quite a bit more babysitting than I’m willing to put in. So for the time being, no podcast. I don’t even care how many listeners it had, and I’m not even going to check.
I certainly need to put a little more effort into reorganizing Tinkered Thinking so that it can generate a bit more income. I like having a lot of free content, but even donating isn’t particularly easy, nor do supporters get rewarded in any kind of meaningful way, and I’d like to change that. I definitely need to retool some things if the podcast isn’t going to be a part of the platform anymore. But we will see.
The most important thing is that the writing simply continue. The personal ROI on that was simply too juicy, book sales, and readership aside. All the other stuff, like publishing more books, retooling the site, podcast nonsense, all that can be done later if need be, and they shouldn’t be excuses to put off what I love doing any longer.
So stay tuned. Tinkered Thinking is back.