Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thanks to the kind folks at the Citizen

...for running a photo of last weekend's signing. Note that the caption IDs yours truly as a "historian." This was well-meant and kind, but there's no way I could possibly lay claim to that term. Dusty D was an English major, more or less out of laziness, and she does not have any sort of rigorous training in research methods or historical study. That Taft got stuck in his bathtub is about the extent of my knowledge of American history--and even that fact sounds apocryphal.

To my mind, David Halberstam is a historian. When I read his book "The Fifties," I can clearly see how much research went into each beautifully written sentence. I can tell here and there that it took a week of sitting in some archive somewhere just to be able to write, with authority, three carefully selected words. He is a historian. Me? Just someone who benefits from the inexhaustible kindness of my husband and the opportunities generously offered by local editors D., A., S., and D. and C. For all of which I am very thankful.

"Historian" is a vastly overused term. Take a look at folks who call themselves that, read their words, compare their works to the source materials--important; I'm saying more than I'm saying, here--and judge for yourself whether they deserve that honor. I'm happy just to be a writer!


TeacherPatti said...

Drat! The picture must be down cuz I can't find it :(

Dusty D said...

Oh dear, that is my fault in mis-linking, certainly not yours TeacherP. I'm sorry about that. But it's just as well...I am terminally shy and the world isn't holding its breath for a pic of me. :)

TeacherPatti said...

Oh I understand! My husband is VERY shy (very "engineer" personality, which is what he is!) I am actually shy too but I just hide it well...someone once told me to "fake it til I make it". I don't mean that I'm fake, but I just act not shy until I don't feel shy...but I know that doesn't work for everyone!! :)