I’m not here because since Monday evening, I’ve been away researching a book.
I can’t tell you what it is – ask me in a year, quite possibly two – and, for different reasons, I don’t think I can tell you what the week has been like. Not really, not adequately.
I can tell you that I stayed offline for it and can see that, across various accounts, I have fewer than 200 emails waiting for me. No idea if anyone’s @ed me on Twitter or tagged me anywhere. I suppose I’ll find that out in a minute when I post this, but as I write, I have one more eight-hour session of research.
That eight hours is not my choice, I would be at it 24 hours with naps if I could.
But if it goes as well as it possibly can, I still won’t be halfway through the research when I have to stop. I thought devoting a week to it would be enough for this stage, I also thought that a week on any one subject would be bliss. Instead of darting about everywhere and juggling everything, I could really concentrate.
I did exactly that and it was blissy – not blissful but with bliss-like moments. Overall I’m too conscious of how much more I’ve got to do and trying to figure out how to do it.
Plus, I think I can tell you this, I can’t see the story yet. I’ve a mass of information and an even bigger mass – about two times the size – that I can’t get to on this trip. But I can’t see a line through it yet, I can’t see how to tell this story.
Right now, for speed, I am documenting everything into a database, reduced to reading as little as I can in the moment but photographing it all. When I’m back in my own world, I’ll methodically go through what I’ve got and sort out chronology, examine it all, see what I’ve got.
And then hopefully I’ll see the story.
But somehow that clear and easy frustration over not being able to get to all the material, plus that intangible sense of not getting the grip on the story I expected, and the way this week has been a bubble, it’s all combined.
I understand why I’m not here, how I’m away from my office and away from online, but right now I don’t think I’m all there, either.