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October 22, 2005

What's Going On Here

Perform a book? That means I'm going to write it, or draft it, or riff it online, one installment at a time, until it's done. Installments -- episodes, like a TV miniseries -- will appear every two weeks. After they're up, everyone can comment (and please do comment!). After two weeks, a new episode appears, and the old one remains for at least another two weeks. But at some point, the old episodes disappear, so that only when the book is finally published will all of it be available in the same place.
I'll take some breaks, as the writing gets going. I need some time when I don't obsess about this.

But here's a question. Why write a book this way? Answer: so I'll have some pressure on me, something forcing me to write it. And so the book can get attention, even before it's published. (Even before I have a deal with a publisher.) And so people who care about what the book says can help me make it better. This last reason is especially important. I want this book to help the classical music world. The best way to make it helpful is to let the classical music world participate in writing it. Or, at least, help me write it. That way, the book doesn't only represent me. With any luck, it'll represent a lot of people, including even some who disagree with me, because I can incorporate their objections.

So what should the comments be? Anything you want. Tell me where I'm wrong, where I'm not making sense, where I'm saying too much, what I'm forgetting to talk about. Praise is welcome, too, of course. If you think I'm on the right track, I'd be happy to hear it. I'll make some of the comments, maybe many of them, available on this site. I'd like to say I'll try to post nearly every comment, leaving out only those that seem useless, but I don't want to promise anything in advance. I don't know how many comments I'll get, and I don't want to get overwhelmed. One thing I do know -- I'm not going to favor comments that agree with what I'm saying. I'm more interested in those that disagree. I want to learn something from what you all say. That's more important than basking in your praise.

What happens when the draft of the book -- the riff -- is finished online? Then I go back and revise the whole thing. Eventually it's published and put on sale. Why should you buy the book, when you can read it here? To have it all in one place. And, most of all, to read the final version, which, thanks to all your comments, is sure to be very different from what I'll be writing on this site.

One last note. I'll put an outline of the book on the left column of the main page, so you can see how far along we are, where we've been, and (at least in a general way) what's going to happen next.

Posted by mclennan on October 22, 2005 4:35 PM


I hope you are going to keep all the earlier versions and posts, and make them available to an archive one day. This will be one of the first examples of this type of writing, and it would be interesting for an institution to maintain it in their digital repository one day. (Perhaps someday if you willed or donated your archives to a major research university).

(obviously a librarian, but also a musician and historian)

Posted by: Thom at November 29, 2005 10:57 AM

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