March 8, 1861: Today I visited the old log cabin I was born in and was struck by how small it was. Father always said that a home is a home, no matter how small. Is this true? I must know.

March 15, 1861: We finished a new log cabin today behind the White House! It’s only as long as I am tall, and I can’t stand upright in it. Still, I am struck by the fear that a small enough man, or perhaps a dog, could still enjoy living within it. I must start over.

July 24, 1862: STILL. NOT. SMALL ENOUGH.

October 27, 1862: Mary has expressed concerned that my new hobby is “distracting me from the war.” I expressed concern that she’s “shitting on the President’s ambitions.”

June 17, 1863: Headline today was “CABINGATE: LINCOLN ADMINISTRATION DOWNSIZES SCANDAL.” How absurd! This isn’t a scandal at all! Also, “Cabingate”? What an odd choice of suffix.

November 19, 1863: I was too busy working on my latest cabin to write an appropriately long speech for today, but people liked it way more than I expected. Here I was fretting all morning that they’d know I was half-assing it, but apparently not?

December 25, 1863: Curses! A “Christmas present” arrived from Jefferson Davis. The contents: a six-inch log cabin. That’s so tiny! How can I mend this nation if I can’t build a smaller log cabin than anyone else?

January 17, 1864: General Sherman stepped on my latest cabin today and said some nonsense about me needing to concentrate on reality. I told him if he hates buildings so much, why doesn’t he go destroy some in Atlanta? That shut him up.

June 3, 1864: I sent a “birthday present” to Davis today: my magnum opus, the two inch cabin. Checkmate, Confederacy.

August 5, 1864: I awoke in the middle of a dream of being crushed by millions of tiny log cabins. My own subconscious seems to discourage my true passion. But I will not be stayed, even by my own mind. The quest for the lower limit continues.

September 2, 1864: Update to Jan. 17 entry: Explain to Sherman the term “figure of speech.”

February 15, 1865: I cannot even see this last cabin. It’s too small, but I know it’s there. At last, I have finished. At last, I know peace.

February 16, 1865: Wow, what a great play!

—E. Campbell-Taylor

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