Yesterday I left Van Jackson on February 6, 2018, at Entry 39 (of 92) of his blog about drafting “On the Brink,” in a calm space, regularly adding words (at a rate most inspiring to this author) every day amidst at busy day job. A Feb 8 downtick: “feeling so exhausted.” Then a good weekend – 1,700 words – also sees him declaring that “we’re effectively out of the [North Korean] nuclear crisis from last year.” On Feb 14: “Recently though, I developed a bit of tunnel vision for the subject of the book.” “I suppose I’m biased,” he notes five days later, “but there’s a lot of good, new stuff in this book…” Two days later, despair: “I have to let off some steam… I’m again hitting a point where I’m running myself ragged.” On Feb 27, after writing that he is trying to “emphasize chronology,” he also confides that “most of my writing tricks and practices come from movies, hip-hop lyrics, and time spent in the Pentagon.”
He bounces back “I was on a roll today, writing nearly 1,000 words in two hours [wow, says I] in the morning.” He’s now up to the Trump section of the book and, at the start of March, after castigating its “totally erratic foreign policy” (this is the day Trump hits China with tariffs), the next day he reflects on the evils of the North Korean regime. Words are now a torrent: “I am literally living through history as I write it.” On March 9, Trump says he’s going to meet Kim Jong Un in May, throwing Jackson (and all analysts and pundits) into a badly informed tizzy. Output slows. On Mar 13, he does something unprecedented, an office clean-up. On Mar 15, amidst bewilderment, he muses that his current book words are “about stuff now that I was writing about real-time as a commentator.” It’s March 16, Entry 67 of 92, and “I wrote 730 words today despite puzzling my way,” via the blog, about Trump’s upcoming summit.
I’m panting with excitement. Here he is, drafting a book unfolding right now, in which he was recently a participant. How on earth does he continue? Why doesn’t he fold?