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Happy Anniversary to Us – One Year and a Look to the Future

Today marks the one year anniversary of This Cruel War, and I thought I’d take the time to reflect a bit. It’s not often that I get to talk plainly and without footnotes. 1Who am I kidding? Of course there will be footnotes!

A Glance Back

This blog started because of the Charleston shootings; because of Bree Newsome removing the flag in front of the state house in Columbia. It had been less than a year since I had wrapped up the Civil War Daily Gazette and was looking for something new to do. Going back to the Civil War was really the last thing on my mind. 2In fact, even prior to ending CWDG, I was working on a fairly geeky little Tolkien blog, in which I was studying the early drafts of the Silmarillion. I miss it a lot, and hope to return to it someday. Along with that, I was still posting to my film photography blog, and had seriously thought about expanding both.

But with the all the fervor over the Confederate Battle Flag, I found myself explaining much to friends and family. I wrote little Facebook posts about the Confederate cause as well as the flag. I tried my best to explain how both have been used since the war to justify various deplorable actions. Needless to say, some were less-than-thrilled with me.

It was then that I desperately wished that I could post these writings somewhere. I thought for a second or two about converting the CWDG over to these type of pieces. But in the end, this was a wholly different direction, deserving of a new platform. Thus This Cruel War was born.

Future: I'm pretty sure that you give snakes on the first anniversary, right?
I’m pretty sure that you give snakes on the first anniversary, right?

Still Kicking Around

At first, I thought it would take up only a fraction of the time that the CWDG did. I had worked two or three hours each day on that one. As it’s turned out, however, TCW is much more involved. I find myself caring about it in a deeper way. Sure, I have a small fraction of the readership that I once had, but I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. This, despite the troubling and horrible topics, despite the cruelty of war.

Over the past year, I’ve tried various ideas, and in the future will try many more. The weekly posts about racially-motivated lynchings have completely captured me. The slave narratives, also posting weekly, are fascinating. The long posts, clocking in at around 4,000 words, will continue, though their frequency will probably lessen. It’s never easy to maintain this kind of schedule, try as I might.

Duty Now For the Future

Looking forward, I have no idea what will become of TCW. Hopefully I can fall into a pleasant and sustainable rhythm. Taking breaks is an obvious thing – they’re absolutely necessary. In fact, I’m on one now, though casual readers might not notice. Many of the articles posting on Facebook are re-runs. Some are greatly revised, of course, sources rechecked, conclusions changed where necessary. But still, breaks.

I hope to keep things more or less in tune with an academic schedule. A season in the Fall, a season in the Winter/Spring, and summers off! Of course, because most of the articles are written well ahead of time, my actual time off is slightly different. 3For instance, I like having weekends free in September because of the Womens Roller Derby Playoffs – also, it’s the last bit of the hiking and camping seasons. Just look at all this stuff you’re learning about me by reading footnotes!

But there will be dry spells, and as much as I’d like to keep a regular schedule, that’s just not going to be practical forever.

New is the New New Future

Remember the weekly news posts I did a few months back? I really enjoyed doing them, and I think I’ll start them up come September. I like them as they keep me in touch with the modern world, and they also give me a bit of a chance at levity. Most of the posts that I do so necessarily serious and dower. On Facebook, I’ve been trying to post something humorous on Fridays, you know, to take the edge off. This practice will hopefully spill over to the news section of the blog.

The weekly lynching articles will continue, as will the slave narratives – though both will be slightly retooled. There will be a longer article each week for a little while, and probably something else to fill in that dreaded fifth day (word-of-the-week?). I’d like to look at more primary documents, especially when it comes to secession commissioners. Though, that can get a bit repetitive: “Ohh that abolitionist Lincoln is going to free all of our slaves! Secede now!” I mean, they weren’t wrong, so there’s that. But still, perhaps not incredibly exciting. I’m still kicking around that word-of-the-week idea, and have gathered twenty or so words, but haven’t written anything just yet.

Regardless, this fall season is really shaping up. We’ll start the new new posts on Monday the 5th. I think we’ll ease back into it, with things really kicking off the next week. Until then, it’s more reruns. 4Though if you’ve not seen it, it’s new to you!

References   [ + ]

Has always had a love for history and the Civil War. During the 150th anniversary of the war, writing the Civil War Daily Gazette blog, which published daily for nearly five years. Wishing to continue the exploration, following the Charleston murders in 2015, and the activism around removing the Confederate Battle Flag, decided to dig a little deeper into the causes and repercussions of the War.

One thought on “Happy Anniversary to Us – One Year and a Look to the Future

  1. You are one of my heroes–the work you do is so important. I know there is no pay, but most of us are “playin’ real good for free,” when it comes to history. I love you.

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