My Writing History, and Our History Repeating

BrockaHistory, Technology, WorkLeave a Comment

If you haven’t surmised by this point, I don’t really do long form writing. Sometimes. When it is necessary. For some reason, I’ve never enjoyed reading short stories either; ironic considering how I will cozy up to an anthology of a book in a second, or a great journalism piece. I noticed this when I was a subscriber to The New Yorker for 10+ years. I would always skip over the short stories. Only if I were in a dire emergency for something to read, would I flip back through. (when cell phones were really just for calling and not for reading blogs subscribed to. still, never leave home without reading material!)

Intellectually, I am aware of my predilection for books over short stories as a product of my particular time and place. We are all just a result of environment and built-in habits. For instance, if I lived in Japan and spent hours of my day on a train, I might prefer short stories, maybe even manga and comics.

Regardless, I completely admire other bloggers who have one mission or objective in mind, one sole focus for their blog, a heavily researched theme each time they write, a specific story to tell for Medium.  It’s not that I don’t have ample stories or the desire to share them; I’m just not quite comfortable spending so much time with them right now. I know that I’ve written a lot of my songs as stories and/or as a process for healing, but none are over 6 minutes long, the prose being even shorter than the music put to it. Yes, I would like to write some proper short stories, maybe even publish them. Then again, I’d rather just spend a couple years writing one solid book!

As far as this space goes, I will just keep reflecting on various things and find motivation to write from various places. I might throw out the occasional recipe every once in awhile, while never needing to jump on a food blogger bandwagon.

As for themes, I’ve tried to articulate on this blog before, how in any given week there seems a coincidental one. ‘History’ was the word and the idea.
 The Phrase Finder discusses the evolution of sayings and language. The writer took a serious hiatus ~1 year, and then popped back up again 2 weeks ago. The most recent post was on Hither and Yon and its linear path

Here’s how those various words have been put together over time to mean ‘here and there’ or ‘to and fro’:

– Circa 725AD – ‘Hider and dider’ – listed in the glossary of manuscripts of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

– 1412 – ‘Here and yonder’ – John Lydgate’s translation of the History of Troy.

– 1413 – ‘Hyder and thyder’ – recorded in the mediaeval manuscript The Pylgremage of the Sowle.

– 1626 – ‘Hether and thether’ – in George Sandys’ translation of Ovid’sMetamorphosis.

– 1787 – ‘Hither and yon’ – Francis Grose’s Glossary.

– 1837 – ‘Hithering and thithering’ – Jane Carlyle, in a letter to her husband Thomas. This may seem to be the first example of ‘hither and thither’ in print but it appears that it was there being used to mean ‘going to and fro in a confused manner’ i.e. ‘dithering’. Thomas Carlyle also used the expression later in his own writing, but it wasn’t widely adopted with that meaning.

– 1871 – ‘Hither and thither’ – Richard Hutton, in Theological and Literary Essays:

“Of what nature can a Power be that moves us hither and thither through the ordinary courses of our lives?”

After reading this, for some reason I started reflecting on my attempt to learn shorthand when I was in elementary school. Then my brain naturally jumped to our current abbreviated culture of emojis, first used to cover emotions, now entire sentence structures… which led me to reflect on original language in the form of cuneiform, then to hieroglyphs, and here we are again with emojis. Is history repeating itself? Are we simultaneously evolving and backtracking?
I have had this feeling since my single digit years and see this circular theme in other ways, mainly and most complicatedly within religion and science.
My favorite #longreads long form blogger is Wait But Why. He does investigative journalism without any politics or bias. Each topic is so thoroughly researched, deliberately and intentionally falling down a rabbit hole. Notice the bi-line of his blog too -open to how much time may be necessary for researching the next topic.
Most recent post: Horizontal History He flipped the idea of timelines. His explanation for our general understanding of history is exactly why I’ve spent most of my reading life immersed in history books and biographies of leaders, politicians, kings and queens and tyrants, etc… trying to re-teach myself, as my schooling was just to be schooled.
His post is a bit more conceptual, putting seemingly disparate bits together -as they were. If you aren’t familiar with WBW, investigate his blog. The few recents are on Elon Musk (after Musk approached him to be written on), Musk’ psychology and his drive with space, Tesla, and for the future, +++
This past week Seth Godin also had his finger on the pulse; more with relation to business, yet still:

The top things

Learning from history is cheap. And worth it.

What are the five best decisions your competitor or your predecessor made last year?

Not only because they worked, but because they showed you a new way of thinking, something that went against your instincts or biases…

Every political candidate ought to be able to outline the five lessons learned from the men and women who came before–especially the positive things they’ve learned from those in other parties. Those unwilling or unable to do so are either demagogues or ignorant.

Every job candidate ought to be able to outline the five lessons learned from the leaders they’ve worked with previously. Those unwilling or unable to do so are not paying attention.

The number one thing to steal from your competitors: Wisdom.

 

Wisdom. Yes. Our own behavior is hindsight for personal wisdom.

I’ll say finally, any current political climate is a result of how history has been read, interpreted, and then re-told. And we can only ever see things from our perspective, whether broad or narrow.

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BrockaMy Writing History, and Our History Repeating

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