It’s hard to believe I’m at the end of the second year of blogging! Time flies when you’re having fun? Or do I just not know when to give up?
One “rule” I adopted fairly early was to focus mostly on people no longer living. I could sound all noble and say it was to respect the privacy of my living family members, but mostly is was pure self-preservation. The dead can’t get in your face or call you on the phone to chew you out if you say something they don’t like. Nor can they send you a scathing email.
There are many stories I know and could share, but don’t, for various reasons. Sometimes the event is too recent, making the memories too intense and emotions too raw. Or they aren’t necessarily my stories to tell, and I don’t feel comfortable hijacking them from the individuals they belong to. Perhaps the time will be right in 10 years. Or twenty.
Make no mistake, I do mention living people on occasion, usually in passing. I need to give them photo credit, or give their book a plug (as I’m lifting a story from it—always giving them credit, of course!). Or they are necessary players in the memory I’m writing about that week. I try to keep descriptions about them vague enough that tracking down more information about them would take some effort—effort I’m hoping nefarious people won’t put forth.
This week I’m supposed to write about me. So much for the “not living” rule. Dead women don’t blog! I have no clue where this post is headed, though.
If you read my About page, you found a brief description. The first two blog posts (Oh Boy! and Start) filled in additional gaps about me. I could continue by typing paragraphs listing favorite foods, books, movies, vacations—you name it. Everything would be true, but most of it would be somewhat superficial. And it would be real easy to skew the information in the way most beneficial to me.
The trouble is, I had high school English teachers who drummed into our skulls about substantiating the points we were making (thank you, Mr. Linden!), and to “show not tell” in our writing. Even 45 years later, it’s still second nature; a habit I can’t shake. As a result, an observant reader of my blog will have learned more about me than I would ever volunteer. What sort of things, you might wonder?
- The music I listen to, movies I watch, and types of books I read.
- The convoluted logic my brain engages in. Logic that results in the Craft prompt being about a boat!
- I have lots going on. You’ve experienced blog posts being late due to “life happening,” early due to lack of internet, and posts short on “genealogy” because we were making “family history” at the vacation house.
- I possess an odd combination of persisitence and flexibility, which somehow keeps the blog published on a fairly consistent schedule, despite the above complications.
- My research process is a lot like sausage-making—sometimes downright messy and ugly, though the results are frequently good.
- I used to listen to Paul Harvey. Often I am trying to determine “the rest of the story” for someone, instead of settling for more mundane information about them.
- I’m a lot like a dog with a bone. The more the answer to a research question eludes me, the more likely I am to hunker down with it, and keep searching.
- I often gravitate to the “underdogs” on the tree—those who died young, never married, or never had kids. With fewer or no descendants, they are frequently overlooked and shortchanged.
- I don’t have a problem being wrong. Make no mistake, I don’t like it, and try to avoid it in the first place. When an error pops up, I make sure to document what was wrong, and how it happened, so the correction is obvious, and I hopefully don’t make the same mistake, again.
Of course, there are aspects of the writing process you are oblivious to, because all you see is the final product. I edit myself—a lot. You are blissfully unaware of the times I agonize over “a/an” vs. “the.” Seriously! Sometimes I change it back and forth several times—and then decide that sentence really needs a demonstrative adjective (this/that/these/those) instead. Yes, I’m kind of picky.
Does it matter? Not always, but occasionally it does affect the meaning of the sentence or paragraph. I also scrutinize the pronouns in paragraphs to confirm the meaning is clear. Blame those English teachers, again! We were told to assume our reader knew nothing about our topic, and make our writing crystal clear. If I am confused by what I’ve written, you guys will be completely lost. So I go back and rework it until I feel comfortable a stranger off the street can figure it out. They may not care, but they can hopefully understand it!
So if you started this blog post expecting to learn a ton of new things about me, I’m sorry to disappoint you. You already knew far more than you ever realized! But for those who need something concrete: Chocolate. Red.
Speaking of errors, I managed to have the wrong time scheduled, so this posted before I thought it would—and it wasn’t done! So I deleted the first publication and have republished this one. I can’t even blame this on eggnog!