Monday, March 12, 2012


L.G.C. Smith

Strategy is a very tricky concept in the life of a writer. Well, this writer. Being good at imagining things, I’m not bad at coming up with good strategies in any number of arenas. I attribute this to my father having had such a love of military history and dragging me across the US and the Western Pacific narrating various battle plans complete with commentary on strategic brilliance and failures. From Custer’s failures at the Little Big Horn to why the US used nukes on Japan, I took it all in.

Simultaneously, there were years of strategic analyses of professional sports games from the spectator position, which at my house was cross-legged on the floor in front of a pile of Legos or Lincoln logs. Dad watched, commented, and helped build things. I ended up with a solid understanding of strategy as it relates to winning games and territory. In other endeavors, I understand the importance of strategies, and can formulate then easily.

I do not, however, possess the will to follow through on the strategic planning I so excel at. One thing about strategy: without a certain degree of ambition and motivation behind it, it remains an academic exercise.

Therefore, I’ve developed a general life strategy that doesn’t require a huge amount of action. This is playing to my strengths. And that strategy is: hunkering.

Hunkerers play a long game. You define goals—conservatively, of course—and you find a position from which you think you can achieve them, and then you dig in. It’s not unlike the tortoise’s path in “The Tortoise and the Hare.” You poke your head up periodically to assess the field, and then you hunker back down. You aren’t static. But there aren’t many sudden moves.

Hunkering is not a sexy strategy, I’m sorry to say. It’s not always nimble enough to take advantage of trends or new opportunities. I wouldn’t say I’d advise others to adopt it, but it’s what I’m able to do, and so I work with it.

Every now and then, however, even a world-class hunkerer needs to blow off steam. This week brings a visit from my brother, the tech geek with crazy ass computer skills and sub-par communication skills, along with his wife and three young children, one of whom is autistic, another of whom is not quite two years old, and all of whom still crap their drawers (don’t ask). Anticipating chaos, which is not the hunkerer’s favorite modus operandi, I’ve given myself a strategy to diffuse stress. I’m going to Tweet the horrors.

This is a good strategy for several reasons, not the least of which is that no one else in my family is on Twitter. Then there’s the fact that I have very few followers. I can speak out with low impact, which is perfect for a hunkering life strategy aficionado. And finally, it gives me some more Twitter practice. That can’t hurt. It’s part of my long game.


Barbara said...

I admire your strategy, L.G.C., I can't strategize my way out of a paper bag. I'm more of a seat of the pants person and I strenuously avoid conflict so your Twitter strategy sounds right to me. I'd also be quietly toilet training my nephews during the visit. Children need boundaries and mine are drawn right next to the poopy pants for kids older than 3. But that's just me.

Rachael Herron said...

also, it makes us happy when you tweet. Bonus! :) Good luck!

L.G.C. Smith said...

Barbara, that's my boundary, too, wrt the toilet training. There are actually medical and developmental issues involved so I try to bite back my judgments, but . . . it's not easy.

Sophie Littlefield said...

say hi to your brother from me!