In fifty-eight quick and compact verses, the tale unfolds in classic fashion: scene establishment, conflict, tension, flashpoint, resolution, and denouement. There is drama, action, humor (Goliath gets off some good one-liners), the bad guy dies and a new hero is born. 1 Samuel 17 is systematic and efficient in its delivery, and as far as stories go, is perfectly turned and sculpted. Remove David and Goliath from its Biblical and historical contexts, and it still works as a standalone set piece.
And that is exactly what a lot of people do. Few, if any, narratives are as flexible as the story of David and Goliath. The template can be applied to nearly every disadvantage drama imaginable: a creature small in stature confronting a physical giant, an outsider facing down an embedded establishment, a resource-poor entity versus one that isn't.
The story can be used to illustrate the challenge for survival in the face of terminality — this was a battle to the death, after all — or simply the frightening unknown hiding behind a potential high-stakes defeat. And the original story of underdog triumph is a time-tested balm to those who seek a sense of justice, one that might seem unattainable in a present moment. For the bullied, those taken advantage of, the disregarded and the exploited, David serves as an eternally empowering inspiration.
And perhaps most commonly here in the 21st Century, it's the archetype for end-results that weren't supposed to occur: the low-probability outcome, the odds-busting victory, the surprisingly unexpected that happened anyway. How, exactly, does all of this kaleidoscopic complexity fit into such a simple story?
* * *
What this is is not a test, it’s an actual third-draft excerpt from the upcoming book. It also has a title now (spoiler alert, it’s David and Goliath: A Love Story). “Project Darkhorse” recedes gracefully into history, but lives on as a cool underground codename that we secretly call the book when we’re whispering among ourselves, as well as the URL stem of the project’s Slack workspace. If you’ve donated to the project at the premium level, you can now read the first chapter — titled “I Am The David” — and you can give feedback there, at pdh19.slack.com.
Those 3,000 book-like words happen to be the first 3,000 book-like words I’ve put out for public consumption in nearly five years, and after nine months of general directional stabbings the project is finally at the point of wait, this could actually end up being pretty good. I am very proud to let you read this, and at the same time I am infinitely thankful that you care enough to read along after what amounts to two full eternities in modern internet time.
This chapter is the first of six themed essays that serve as the horizontal throughline of David and Goliath: A Love Story. This first introductory one relates to this 31-century old narrative’s enduring power to explain so many different parts of the human experience. The others will deal with its specific story angles: disadvantage, survival, justice, probabilities, and the odd phenomenon of David/Goliath role reversal. These remaining essays will be posted for Premium donors at a rate of one every 10 days or so leading into March. The full book is still targeted for a late 2Q release.
Our little project also now has a redesigned and refreshed web center, at dglovestory.com. There is a brand new explanatory blurb too, with a full breakdown of the DGLS budget. Also present is a contact form, and I’d urge you to use that in the future for matters related to donor rewards and product distribution — it’s far more reliable than the hit-and-miss anciency of email, or the random whims of the crowdfunding website’s messaging system.
Speaking of crowdfunding and GoFundMe, some previous wishful thinking about project costs has led to the reopening of our fundraising department. With this comes new and better goals: if the project surpasses its current $7,100 (at press time) total and reaches $8,000, there will be a hardcover print run, which will make it easier to curry favor with Amazon’s algorithms when David and Goliath: A Love Story is published later this year. In the potential case of $9,000, an professionally produced audiobook will be produced. (Some of you might be aware that I worked at a radio station for a year after TMM ended; I can get a good deal on production. I know a guy.)
You also might notice that $500 has been tacked on to the end of the thermometer — if that plateau is reached, all the paperback preorders will be automatically upgraded to hardcover. 🎉 I’ll even sign all the first pages with personal notes, which will immediately negate and destroy any resale value. 🙁 Just 22 more Premium donors, or 76 more preorders, a mere handful at a higher level or some combination of the above is all we need. No sweat, let's do this.
Most of you receiving this newsletter via GFM or email have already donated. To you I say: please consider evangelizing and sharing the project far and wide with any friends, relatives, colleagues or past TMM fans who either are or aren’t on Facebook or Twitter. If you do feel compelled to upgrade, GFM lets you enter a different number than the preset amounts — if you do so and then drop a note in the contact form, I will personally see to it that your higher reward level is properly applied.
While on the subject of The Mid-Majority: as mentioned in the last newsletter, the full ten seasons, with 3025 articles by 129 authors, totaling 3.6 million words and 10,910 images, are now available once again at the slightly more hyphenated mid-majority.com. As was noted by a couple of Premium donors in the Slack chat, many of the 19,231 outbound links have also been corrected or redirected, in an effort to combat 15 years of web rot. (This was actually the most time-consuming part, so thank you very kindly for noticing.)
To celebrate the grand reopening of the site that serves as the only reason why you even know of my existence at all, I’ve also released the PDF and e-book versions of One Beautiful Season, my college basketball book from 2011 about Butler and others that somehow still enjoys a 4.23 rating on Goodreads. For the past several years I’ve received a royalty check every fall for an annual cluster of March sales, and it’s covered my cellphone bill. That was sure great, but it is over now. One Beautiful Season is yours, for free, at The Mid-Majority.
Finally, the Bally’s Dream 2019 second edition project is proceeding apace. But this serves as a written notice that preorders will close for good on Saturday, January 26 at 11:59 PM ET. It's $25 postpaid worldwide, all proceeds to charity. The book itself will go to print the following week; if you’re reading this after the deadline, it already has happened and you’re too late. I’m sorry. But if you got in on the deal, you are guaranteed to receive it well in advance of the NCAA Tournament, and that is of course what this book is all about. (That, and flying cartoon basketballs.)
Your gracious support and interest in Project Darkhorse have propelled it forward to this point, and now we proudly proceed as David and Goliath: A Love Story. It is a true and honest pleasure to have you on this ride.