I get a lot of emails about how great TOP is, which I definitely appreciate. However, I myself can see, sometimes all too clearly, how it could be better. I often have many plans that don't come to anything. Nothing is a better example of this than Vivian Maier. When the news of her and her accidental rescuer John Maloof broke in 2009, I did a lot of research about the story. I even exchanged emails with John (mostly urging him to try to recover the negatives of hers he had resold on Ebay after buying the archive. He did try, but wasn't able to get them back). As a few people are reminding me in the comments to the previous post, a great many people sent tips and links to the story, over a period of a number of months.
But I never wrote up the story for TOP. Another obvious lapse is that I never posted about the Sony A33 and A55, despite meaning to. I also did quite a bit of original research for what one visitor called "The Uncle Not Ansel" negatives, too, including a phone interview with Ansel's biographer, Mary Street Alinder, which was very interesting. All of that should have lead to at least one extensive post. But didn't.
I've gotten quite good at conceiving and knocking out post-sized bits of writing on a regular basis, but, if I face facts, there are some stories that just don't lend themselves all that well to the gestalt of blogging. Some writing "assignments" (nobody assigns me anything, but you know what I mean) demand more more time to write, more time to research, even more "gestation time" (percolation time?*) than the daily demands of producing a website like this one allow.
I have all sorts of other projects in the wings, too—most of them larger than the average blog post. "Small Cameras We Love" is about a year overdue. And counting. (The landscape keeps changing underneath my feet. At least three entires in that article have been "orphaned.") "Ten Great Photo Books You Can't Buy" is going to be a wonderful article...when I get it finished. Or should I say, "if." My darkroom isn't finished yet, either. (We got bogged down when the ventilation contractor quoted me an outrageously high "we don't want this job" kind of price for the ventilation system, and I balked. Stalled.)
I sometimes think it would be nice if I could write one long article a week for the web. I'm not complaining, mind you—I have the most perfect job in the world for me. And, being realistic, TOP could be a lot worse. I guess I'm the one who gets to see how it could be better, is all.
Seems like my New Year's Resolutions for 2011 are laid out for me pretty plain, huh?
—Mike, TOP Chief Bottlewasher and APES**
*I mean that they need to slosh around in your brain for a while—the actual writing is the easy part of writing—or easier—knowing what to write is the hard part.
**A phrase coined (at least to my knowledge) by Thom Harrop, long-ago Editor of Darkroom Photography magazine—it's an acronym for "all-purpose editorial slave."