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Finding Ideas for Historical Writing


 

Update1

First, a blog update:

I have not written much on my blog since it was introduced in 2012. One reason for this is because since that time I re-enrolled in school. So, my time has been critical and management a top priority. Another reason is due to writer’s block and writer fatigue. I have had to write so much in class that my mind gets clogged with information overload. I sit at the PC wanting to blog something, but my creative juices just will not flow.

To get out of the funk, I do follow a number of other blogs, and they all inspired me to keep the faith and keep pushing on. They inspired me to keep going on with my studies in class and to continue publishing a blog post once in a while. It is OK if I do not blog every day or every month. A blog is something I can come back to when the time and space are right. While searching for something to write about, finding historical topics to blog about, I found is a good place to start back up with.

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from my library

Books

I usually find ideas for my blog by reading books. I find little known tidbits of history in them, and the light goes off in my head, and I think I could write a blog about it. But when I am up to my eyeballs in class stuff, reading for leisure gets swept to the wayside. Recently I sat down and thought up a few ideas for finding history topics. It has always been a problem for me. What to write about. I don’t want to get too broad with a subject because then the job gets too big to handle. I don’t want it to be too narrow because then I can’t find anything relevant to add to the discussion. Whatever I set about to write, reading other books by other historians or non-historians always gives me ideas for blogging.

History tv
some found here

Lectures

I recently listened to the American Historical Association president talk about historians moving to a global approach with historical interpretation and this got me thinking. I should do a global historical topic. I should do something that tie in two or three countries over a particular topic. I can keep it simple by finding just find one common theme and blog about it.

 

effective-blogger-outreach

Other bloggers

Some fellow bloggers are busy in school as well, or they are in a block of their own kind. In that instance, some of them only post a picture to write about and add a few lines. This is great because it stimulates the reader’s imagination and allows them to ask questions. Others might blog about current issues like global conflicts or global economic issues that affect us nationally. Others break their topics down so much and only blog about one thing. This is cool because the narrower a topic is the more the reader is able to question the information and this lead to sleuthing for more information on a topic.

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Creating ideas

With history, the possibilities are endless. We just have to broaden our thinking and get creative with it and see what opportunities arise from the thoughts we create and share.

 

 

 

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History on Saturday: Self-expression



Self-Expression

The photo controversy showing the soldiers on a funeral posing wildly in front of a flag draped coffin got me thinking about something. It got me thinking about self expression and how it evolves from generation to generation.

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Take for instance the 1960s. People then used rioting, parading and socializing to protest harsh authority and rigid, stuffy rules. They wanted to break out of the old mold and revolutionize the way people thought and lived in America. When confronted with their idea of self-expression they asked their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?

MTV

The 1980s was another time of self-expression. This time it was more through music. The music was loud and it came with some extreme forms of dress and self-expression. Parents rose up in opposition citing the music was evil, satanic and an influence toward violence and drugs.  When confronted with their idea of self-expression the youth asked their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?

Tatoo_Design_by_dellustrations

In the 1990s and 2000s people started self-expressing with body art and of course they were met with opposition. People with tattoos, long hair and piercings will not be able to get a job, they said. When confronted with their idea of self-expression they asked their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?

Self-Expression (1)

Currently the new form of self-expression is through photo media and social media sites. People can really self-express in ways that were unimaginable in the 1960s, the 1980s or even the 2000s. Youth are breaking out of old molds, looking at their own history and re-defining self-expression in some very creative ways. When confronted with their idea of self-expression they ask their parents: When are you going to listen to our generation?

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Historians in the future will have to decipher the meanings of the change in self-expression and how those expressions influenced or changed society. One thing is certain and that is each generation chooses to self-express but forget that when they were young they created controversial new ways of self-expression too. What might offend us now may be the new normal twenty or fifty years from now. Those in the future will look back and ask why we were so opposed to that new normal. Just like we do when we look at our history and ponder why youth did what they did to self-express themselves in the past. The important thing is that each generation learns something about themselves, their past and their future. They take what they learned and create a new normal. The history that is made will mean something in the future to someone who asks why it happened.

History on Saturday: Google Blogger


Google-Blogger

 

I love blogs and blogging. I stared years ago to experiment with it on Yahoo’s 360 platform. I went out and found interesting history places to visit or events I found interesting and wrote a little bit about it. I blogged about my feelings about some current events and shared cools stuff I found around the internet. I soon found out I was not a lonely soul on a deserted island, there actually were other history buffs out there that enjoyed my posts about history and other nuts and bolts. Well as all good things must come to an end so, did Yahoo’s 360.  I moved on to bigger and better things.

 

retirement-ahead

 

I pretty much forgot about until I was about a year and a half from retiring from the US Army and looked for some things to do after retirement. I did not know what I wanted to do. I saw others before me do many different things. Some who had retired before me moved into a fabulous new career with upward mobility, trading in their uniforms and boots for a suit and tie. Others bought a house with a huge property and built a ten foot wall around them. Others started a family at 40! I figured if I shot for at least three choices of the next step in my career path, one would happen. I wanted a new job. Something in either the history field, in logistics, or a new unexpected opportunity. Which one I applied to and received first would be my new career path. Well from the time I began my retirement processes to when I actually retired the history jobs dried up like a drought after a rain. So I pursued logistics or whatever I could get to bring money into the house. I soon landed a job in logistics-though, not near what I am actually qualified to do, but rewarding and good enough for now. I also found from listening to a forum poster that I should do what I love, which is history, even though it may be a slow process to get an opportunity to get paid at it. So the blogging idea came to mind once again.

 

decision-making

 

Now fast forward to the present, things have changed and still are. I am in graduate studies at Norwich University, which is awesome. So I have my brain power being tested weekly by the enormous amount of work being a college student goes into. Much more than undergrad or community college was for me. So it gets hard to keep a regularly scheduled blog. It gets even harder sometimes-to find something to blog about. Which brings me to the subject of today’s History on Saturday-Google Blogger.

 

loveblogging

 

I was reading a blog posted by a class peer, to understand the historian we are reading about in class this week, and found that by clicking the Next Blog button on top of the page, it leads you to other history blogs. Cool. Some of these blogs are so creative its mind boggling. It gives me plenty of creative ideas for my own blog. But I digress. If you get tired or bored with the history blogs, keep clicking. It takes you to other blogs and you find blogs of all kinds and ideas. People literally blog about EVERYTHING. It is great. Only drawback is your bookmark folder will get full, and your PC will start smoking with all the mad save-till- later reading you will create. But digital hoarding is another topic blogged about by Stillwater Historians.

Why I like Drunk History



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I am a very serious person. I like to read books, watch learning channels and look at the world in a serious way. I am not easy going or laid back. I am not meticulous, but I like order, direction and discipline. My husband, of course, is the total opposite. When I met him, I never watched Comedy Central. I rarely even watched a comedy show on TV. I usually watched Lifetime, the History Channel, Discovery, etc. But that changed after I got married. Comedy Central is one of my husband’s favorite and we watch it often.

When the series premiere of Drunk History showed up, both of us rolled our eyes. My husband is not a history buff. But he gets history beat into him on a daily basis. I am always talking about the history while he nods and channel surfs and I am sure, not listening much, except to correct me when I am wrong. Then I am like, “wow, really?”… So we end up watching DH one evening over dinner trays as there was nothing else on at the moment. I found myself mysteriously curious about the show and laughed a little. The next time I laughed a lot. Now it is in my D.V.R. (digital video recorder) to catch each one and here is why:

The show Drunk History is a comical way of narrating the past. It has a little reenactment of a particular story. Now some of them have been told a thousand times or so and are common knowledge. Some are not, and I found I did not even know about them. I do not know about accuracy, which is the historian’s watchword, but I do find them amusing and relevant. Someone has created a way to bring history and comedy together. In doing so they can reach an audience of people who might otherwise find history boring, even a bit snobbish. I find more and more people doing this. They bring history together with other topics to make history interesting. It is good for the field. It is also good for historians to let their hair down and enjoy something funny, some entertainment for a change. Even historians can get fatigued in the study.

Some of my history peeps do not like the show. I am not particularly fond of the drinking part as I am not really a drinker. One thing my husband taught me years ago, it was that I should not be too serious. For that, I am grateful. I have added comedy into my daily digest and I am a happier person. I laugh a lot. I find humor in everyday life, and it makes my step a little lighter. Like I said, I do not know the accuracy of the shows. I tend not to use Hollywood for my history books. It often sparks curiosity, and that takes me on a journey to the paper volumes. Hey, books are making a comeback. Perhaps, history and other flavors added in are a contributor of this.

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