Milam's Notes was originally inspired by Excerpts from the
Notebooks of Lazarus Long, written by Lazarus Long, a fictional character
in a Robert A. Heinlein science fiction story. The story was Time
Enough for Love, The Lives of Lazarus Long, © 1973. I don't
remember exactly when I first began Milam's Notes, but it must have
been sometime during the early 1970s. Anyway, when I began Milam's
Notes, I intended for it to be the same sort of thing that Lazarus
Long did in the story. In recent years, I haven't added much to the
collection. Most of the thoughts that would otherwise have been added
to the collection have, instead, gone into the Frontiersman,
where they appeared as Stray Thoughts. Excerpts from Time
Enough for Love are available in The
Sovereign’s Library in the Main Directory, under Heinlein:
Some Comments and Observations by Robert A. Heinlein.
When I first began Milam's Notes, I wrote the notes on 3 x 5
note cards. When I first transferred the collection from the original
note cards onto 8 1/2 x 11 paper, using a typewriter, I organized them
chronologically with the undated notes first. The chronological order
made it simpler to update the collection by simply adding new pages at
the end. Later, for some forgotten reason, I moved the undated notes
to the end of the collection. Some time after that, again for a forgotten
reason, I revised the collection into reverse chronological order.
During the middle 1980s, I switched from a typewriter to a computer and
reorganized the collection into topics. With a computer, I could
easily insert changes wherever I wanted them and reprint the collection.
Therefore, the chronological order wasn't necessary any longer.
Milam's Notes is still organized into topics but, within each
topic, there isn't any particular order to the notes. I recall trying,
for a while, to sort the notes rationally within the topics. However,
most of the notes are independent of one another, so any rational ordering
of them within the topics is elusive. Even putting a particular note
into a particular topic can be somewhat arbitrary. More recently,
I've put the notes into whatever order in the topics would cause them to
fit the pages the best. That has changed from time to time as I've
used later versions of the word processor. Such later versions have
often resulted in changes in the way that things fit on the pages.
The order in which the notes appear isn't relevant anyway. Read them
in whatever order you want.
Occasionally, over the years, I've corrected the grammar, the punctuation,
and the choice of words that I used in some of the notes. I'm still
doing so and will probably continue to do so. However, for each such
change, I try to make each revised note convey more correctly the idea
that I'd originally intended when I first wrote it. Also, I've occasionally
removed notes that no longer seemed appropriate, sometimes in the light
of more recent thinking. That isn't necessarily a good idea, since
I've often quoted from Milam's Notes in other documents. It
would be nice if the quoted note was still there, later. Maybe I
ought to stop removing notes, even if I no longer like them. Anyway,
Notes isn't as I originally wrote it. Regarding such modifications
of my own previous work, I distinguish myself from The Ministry of Truth
in Orwell's 1984 by the fact that the original version of the collection
remains available. Many of the intermediate versions are also available.
I doubt seriously if