[Five years ago this week, my first Saturday Evening Post Considering History column dropped. That space and work have become crucial components of my career over these years, so for this anniversary I wanted to reflect on a few particular, telling columns from my first year there. Leading up to this special weekend tribute and request!]
On two people who have meant a ton to my five years of Considering History, and one request for the year(s) to come!
1) Jen Bortel: I’ve mentioned my awesome Saturday Evening Post editor Jen a couple times already in the week’s series, and rightly so: not only is every moment of this experience tied and owed to her, but she’s also been the most thoughtful and helpful editor with whom I’ve ever had the chance to work. On everything from my topics to my ideas about audience engagement to the smallest details of my prose, Jen has been a meaningful and productive voice and presence in my online writing life throughout these years, and as I know you all know there’s no way in which anyone could contribute more significantly to my career than that.
2) Bob McGowan Jr.: Speaking of audience engagement, one of my favorite parts of the Considering History experience has been comments from Saturday Evening Post readers. Only occasionally has a column become controversial enough that it has elicited a large number of such comments—I believe the columns on guns and Confederate generals are at the top of that list, not surprisingly. But there have been a handful of folks who have shared thoughtful responses on many posts over the years, and at the top of that list is longtime commenter Bob McGowan Jr. (see this post for one of those many examples of Bob’s awesome comments). I’m able to imagine readers even when they don’t have a chance to comment, but any and all comments are deeply appreciated, and ones as thoughtful as Bob’s really help keep me going.
3) A Request for Y’all: It would be easy, and not at all wrong, to focus here on my goal of getting a few more such comments and responses on future CH columns, and I certainly hope anyone reading this will feel free to share their thoughts (here as ever, but over there too). But I want to highlight instead a different and perhaps less obvious goal: that folks continue to revisit and read (and, yes, even respond to) my prior columns, those that I’ve had the chance to write for these first five years (and that are collected under the Considering History category here). One of the tricky things about online writing is that the newest stuff can easily become the sole focus—but one of the best things about online writing is that much of the older stuff remains out there to be found and read. I’d love to challenge the former effect and help amplify the latter one, and that can start with you all checking out those prior columns, and even sharing them if you like. Thanks in advance and as always!
Spring semester series starts Monday,
PS. I’d love to hear from you!