06 April 2017

The Editing of Ancestors Within

Lately, I have been spending a little time editing my blogs.  Polishing my prose is much the same as polishing anything.  It is a job I tend to put off until the dust begins hindering the activities I would prefer to do.

A credible historian, unlike a romanticist illustrator of historical moments, must strive for accuracy, clarity and honesty.  The accuracy and clarity parts are straightforward for an honest editor.

But what of the honesty of an editor's purpose?  A romanticist writer or editor would choose to convey information in such a way as to sway opinions and stir emotions.  I prefer to help people to discover their own opinions.

How do you check the facts, communicate with clarity, be honest with yourself and learn about your own thoughts and emotions? 

How do you know when to change or challenge something?

How do you know when and how to intervene in history? 

I mainly want my earlier writings to be comprehensible to myself at present.  Whether anyone else finds my words easy to understand is of secondary concern to me, except that I hope readers will continue to be willing to assist me.  Finding the truth of history is usually a team effort.  You may even be willing to help me improve my spelling and grammar!

Although I prefer to do the dusting myself, as I often come across previously lost items while doing so, finding previously lost history is another matter entirely.  In fact, I consider explorations of the past to be much like dusting off false assumptions.

Editing Ancestors Within is therefore a decision-making process, shaping my perceptions of both the past and the future.  It is certainly hard work.

I don't think my writing or editing or dusting are anything like the highly symbolic image of Oliver Cromwell as portrayed by Ford Madox Brown.  Nor do I think my efforts are like any of that painter's other work.  I would like to provide a true likeness of the past, and people in the past, perhaps as Robert Walker attempted to do. 

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I especially appreciate historical insights.