[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!]
people who have meant a ton to my five years of Considering History, and one
request for the year(s) to come!
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.
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.
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!
semester series starts Monday,
love to hear from you!