I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art.—Andre Dubus III
This is the thirty-second in a series of monthly posts on my blog and, while I’ll continue blogging, the schedule for the posts may not be as regular in the future. My regularity to date may be a victim of its own success.
Back From Hacking
Around 2014, I started my website, including a blog, as a way to introduce myself and my capabilities to prospective employers. Since I saw the website as a passive component in my job-searching toolkit, I published posts infrequently and hardly ever visited the my own website.
Then around the end of 2018, as I was applying for an editing assignment, I checked to make sure the link to the website in my email signature block was working and everything was in order. Much to my dismay, I found the website had been hacked! As Caitlin Geier, who designed the website, reconstructed it, I had to decide whether to commit to the site or start planning its demise.
I had put in my 10,000 hours on researching, writing, editing, and similar skills, but while I was seeking work I was taking unrelated gigs and spending little time practicing my top skills. Since I wasn’t doing much writing, I felt a little like a fraud when I’d tell people I was a writer.
At the same time, I realized I liked using those skills and working in the company of other researchers, writers and editors. I also realized I hated hustling for work. So, I decided to start my monthly posts. I asked writing colleagues to edit my posts, both because I value editing and because it connects me to other writers.
Back To School
The blog seems to have succeeded in two ways. First, I’m getting enough work to keep myself busy without the blog. During the month of August 2021, I completed an editing assignment and started a full-time position teaching and monitoring study hall. Luckily, I had written rough draft for this post in July.
I don’t know just how I got so busy. The editing client found me through Editorial Freelancers Association, but my blog may have helped, too. I know the person who offered me the position in education had read some of my posts. It also probably helped that I love writing my blog. It resonates with me.
The second way the blog has succeeded is that it has opened doors to topics I’d like to explore further. I may want to spend time giving deeper treatment to some of these subjects than I can readily do while adhering to a monthly schedule, especially with the other work I’m doing.
One topic alone, the history of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the United States, could fill several posts. Some of the angles I’d like to highlight include the following:
The society and race: Saint Philippine Duchesne was somewhat appalled at the practice of slavery, a black woman was involved with Saint Michael’s from the founding of the school until her death, and efforts are underway to recognize the slaves who worked at my alma mater.
Bicentennial of the Academy of the Sacred Heart: My alma mater, located in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, celebrates its 200th year in 2021.
Mother Xavier Hamilton: Mother Xavier Hamilton is mentioned in posts focusing on her sister, but despite her death at a young age her story is worth telling, too.
Regis after Philippine’s Death: While correspondence by Saint Philippine Duchesne provides insights into the life of Mother Regis Hamilton, who was one of her first novitiates, Regis wrote and received many letters. I’d like to research these, especially those written in the thirty-six years between the deaths of Philippine and Regis.
Wikipedia contribution: I may want to correct the Wikipedia entry that misrepresents the final days of Philippine by stating, “Toward the end of her life she was alone, going blind, feeble, and yearned for letters from Mother Barat.”
I also have in mind one blog that would relate to high-school jobs and veterinary medicine and another about conversation. I’ll probably want to write posts related the subjects I’m covering at school, including rhetoric and logic. And, I’d like to spend some time shooting and finding photos to illustrate my posts and making them easier for search engines to find.
Another advantage of abandoning my monthly schedule is that I won’t be in such a bind about editing the posts. Sometimes I’ve sent the posts to my guest editors just a few days before posting. It hardly leaves time for the review or editing to get done before the entry is posted.
So, my posts will continue to appear online, but if they’re not there at the end of every month it doesn’t mean I’m slacking. I’m simply no longer sticking to my monthly schedule.
My guest editor for post was Vicky Tangi, who teaches English as a Second Language to adults and whose writing has been appeared in Louisiana Literature, the Journal of College Writing, The Advocate and numerous literary anthologies. She was dealing with the approach of Hurricane Ida in South Louisiana when she edited this.
If you’d like help with a writing, editing or content project, I’d love to talk to you. Please contact me.