The input of Patrons and readers of Frontier Partisans is profoundly valuable to me. In recent weeks, I’ve received a couple of queries that served as bracing shots of truth; raising issues I really need to address — and fix.
These were not couched as criticisms, but they alerted me that I am putting the quality of my work at risk by diffusing it across too many sidetrails. One reader warned that he saw a danger, as he put it, that I sell my talents short through a lack of focus. Another asked me if I had set the Ranger Project (Spirited For That Work) aside.
Those two communiques have echoed in my head and heart for a month now. There are some reasons behind my perceptible wandering zero, but ultimately, they’re just what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance . I’m getting in my own way, or allowing life to get in my way.
I know that Spirited For That Work is where my focus must be. It may sound grandiose, but I envision it as a kind of Frontier Partisans magnum opus — because it encompasses all the themes that make up Frontier Partisans: The resonance of continuity & persistence of the ethos across a wide geography and three centuries; even edging into the realms of Fennario through an exploration of the Ranger as a fantasy archetype from Tolkien to Howard to George RR Martin.
Immersing myself fully in this work will be beneficial to me personally, and it will produce many a fine tale for the FP blog and for the podcast. I am wrapping the Mex Rev series, and I will give up the trail of the Sierra Madre Apaches. I realize that this is a bit messy, but I need to do this to get myself back on the target and fully engaged with what is shaping up to be a major effort.
I’ve roughed out the Ranger Project as follows:
I. New England Genesis — The birth of the Ranging Way of War in King Philip’s War of 1676; Gorham and Harmon’s Rangers; Robert Rogers (French & Indian War).
II. La Petite Guerre — The simultaneous development of the Ranging Way of War among the French-Canadian Partisans — with a focus on Ensign Langy and Charles de Langlade.
III. The American Revolution — Daniel Morgan and his Riflemen as Rangers (including action in the Mohawk Valley); Butler’s Rangers (Loyalist); Southern Theater partisan warfare. The Ohio River Valley frontier with a particular focus on Captain Samuel Brady and his Rangers.
IV. The Borderlands — The Texas Rangers with particular focus on their role in the Mexican-American War
V. Modern Rangers — WWII; Vietnam (LRRPs); GWOT
VI. The Ranger as an archetype — particular focus on the influence of Tolkien’s Dunedain; also Howard (Beyond the Black River) and Martin’s depiction of Rangers in A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones).
This could read like a thesis or dissertation — but that ain’t what I’m after. There will be plenty of historical context provided, but the meat of the matter is true tales wrought as vividly as I am able.
Podcast episodes will be oriented around this tale-telling, and I am seriously considering adding a Youtube component.
And I will be pitching the work to publishers.