"Just a friendly reminder about your feature on rattlesnakes."
Perhaps someone in an editorial meeting decided I ought to write a rattlesnake piece, and no one informed me. More likely, I signed up to write the piece and promptly forgot all about it. In any case, I'm happy to write the article, and ever-patient Kim has mercifully given me an extra 10 days.
Irresponsibility on my part, you say? I prefer to think of myself as a high-maintenance writer who's worth the extra aggravation.
I could simply pull out a few field guides, bone up on rattlers, call a couple experts, reuse one or two old tales, write a decent article, and collect a check. Sometimes, that's the best you can do.
Instead, I'm heading west day after tomorrow for a very close look at some rattlesnake dens - just to get in the right mood. I have an excellent guide.
Last night, I took my old copy of J. Frank Dobie's Rattlesnakes from my shelf and spent a couple hours freshening up my rattlesnake lore. As I read about 10-foot rattlers and prickly pear flats carpeted by snakes, I kept hearing the voice of one of my favorite Texas philosophers: