Time for me to say so long

22 06 2008

I doubt this is the blog post those of you who have visited my site regularly expected. Believe me, I wish I wasn’t doing this.

But I really have no choice. Or at least, this is the least objectionable choice.

When I first started this blog in February, I did so with the idea that if I couldn’t give it the effort it deserved I would pull the plug. I didn’t want this to become a “what I had for breakfast” exercise in egotism. I wanted it to have gravitas. I wanted to make a contribution.

To quit in the middle of a series might seem (as it does to me) a form of laziness. But in the end it is the symptom of a greater illness. To do the life of anyone justice, it requires at a bare minimum that one familiarize themselves with the work that person has done. When I wrote a small snippet on the life of James G. Randall, I had read most of Randall’s work (some of it over 20 years ago) to the point that I felt comfortable with it.

With the work of Bell Irvin Wiley, I was going to have to read things I’ve never read, and the truth of the matter is I just don’t have the time. To admit that while ending a week of vacation is doubly painful. Now I know what people who have retired mean when they say they don’t have enough time to relax. When you have all the time in the world, you have none of the time in the world, especially if you have a long list of things to accomplish.

What I’ve got to say in this blog isn’t that important that it will be missed. While I appreciate the kind comments I’ve received, something continues to gnaw at me.

That something is a voice telling me that since I started this, I haven’t worked on my biography of Everton J. Conger in any serious way. I’ve got a pile of library books at the left side of my desk that need to be gone through, with notes taken from them, so others can have access to them. I have a ton of material that I’ve accumulated that needs to be gone through to see if anything of value can be found.

In short, I’ve got to place my priority where it needs to be. I’ve got to make writing Conger’s life story my main mission. Nothing else matters. Especially this.

I plan to keep the blog active, and I’m not saying I’ll never post again. But as Robert Ferrell once told me to sell my television if I wanted to be a historian, I need to jettison every other thing that could stand in the way of what I have to do. If stopping work on this blog is the price to pay for that, it is a small price indeed.

To those of you who have visited this site (2,111 as of today), I appreciate your willingness to do so. I hope there’s something left here that might be of value, although I doubt the pre-teen girls who typed into Google “how to impress a boy” expected to find a blog talking about an obscure Civil War soldier. Maybe it helped them, especially if that boy they were trying to impress is a Civil War nut.

Hopefully, when I finish working on Conger’s life story, those of you who have been impressed with my work will want to spend a few bucks to find out what happened. At that point, the 13 years (and counting) I’ve spent with Conger will have made some sense.



I was the kid who never got his homework done

28 05 2008

I had fully intended to begin a series of posts on Bell Irvin Wiley this week, but circumstance (and an open wallet) kept that from happening.

I usually write these posts on Monday, but given that last Monday was Memorial Day and I had made plans to spend far too much money at Home Depot (the official home improvement store/man’s playground of One Man’s Rebellion Record), it didn’t get written.
Since Monday was devoted to helping the economy, Tuesday was spent visiting with those who have joined the choir invisible and leaving them some beautiful, if not real, flowers. (Note: NEVER try to find flowers the day AFTER Memorial Day).

Since I now have to work the rest of the week, I’ve given up any thoughts of starting until next week.
However, as proof positive that I can turn any sow’s ear into a somewhat reasonable facsimile of a silk purse, there is a lesson to be learned on this that relates, at least in my world, to the war.
I’ve never been good at balancing my time. My mentor in college always chided me (gently, I should add) that if I didn’t get better at making use of the time I had, I wouldn’t get anything done. Looking back on it now, I wonder if I ever did get anything done?

Working full time and trying to write a book that has to be researched, and suffering from the aforementioned time affliction, has made for a somewhat disjointed effort so far. Add to that the extremely silly notion that my wife now expects me to make use of the paint, outdoor furniture and various other toys I picked up on Monday, and you can expect a conflict bigger than Gettysburg (and twice as loud, I might add).

I finally have accepted that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t do it all. So, I have seriously curtailed the amount of time I spend on Civil War discussion boards. My blog posts have to be written on Monday or they won’t appear that week. Reading for pleasure is limited to a short time after going to bed.
Every other bit of free time is dedicated to one thing–the research and writing of my book. After all, I’d like to try to get it finished while I still young enough to enjoy it.

Next week: Bell Irvin Wiley (I hope).

Spring head cold–1

30 04 2008

New blog post this week–0.

I’m taking a short break…

31 03 2008

Between trying to fight off a head cold and a general sense of the “blahs” I’m not posting anything new this week. In the interim, I am putting together a post on the relationship between Otto Eisenschiml and Everton Conger.

As a preview, I will tell you that Eisenschiml was of the opinion that it was Conger who shot John Wilkes Booth, and not Boston Corbett.

There’s more to come…I promise

8 02 2008

I’ve not been able to post anything new for a couple of days, but there’s a good reason. I’m in the process of researching for the first of a series of posts on forgotten (or less remembered) Civil War historians. I hope to post the first part this weekend. It will focus on James G. Randall. I’ve found some interesting things on this interesting figure.

Why another new Civil War blog?

31 01 2008

Starting yet another blog on the Civil War was never high on my list of things to do. But I decided to do this after the experience I had posting on Brett Schulte’s TOCWOC.  Even though there are a large number of people on that blog not much seems to be getting done. After writing the last two new posts myself, I decided this was something I could do on my own, although if Brett keeps the site up, I will occasionally cross-post things there.

So, what kind of blog did I want to do? I’ve never been strong on military matters where the war is concerned, so to try that would be an exercise in futility. After some lengthy thought, I decided I would blog on subjects that interest me, hence the name “One Man’s Rebellion Record”. I know “rebellion” is a red flag to some people, but it has always fit my view of the Civil War. The South rebelled against the ideals of the federal government and sought to create their own country, where their institutions would be safe from northern oversight. They lost, and that has brought us the world we have today.

Much of what I write here will focus on my current research interest, namely the life of Everton J. Conger, the government detective in charge of the troops that captured John Wilkes Booth. While there are some sites that deal with Lincoln’s assassination, I imagine about 60 percent of what I write will focus on that topic.

But I will also discuss various social and political aspects of the era, which I feel gets short shrift on most blogs simply because most bloggers like the military aspects of the war. In addition, I will talk about books that interest me, although I doubt I will do much in the way of in-depth reviews.

One thing I plan to do which I haven’t seen on any other blog is to discuss some of the older Civil War and Lincoln books that remain classics and why I think they continue to merit a look. I also will from time to time talk about past historians and how their work has influenced me. Most of those will be about historians no longer living, but not always.

I don’t approach this with any ax to grind, nor do I seek controversy just for its own sake. But I will not shy away from discussing things that are controversial. I might even discuss current events from time to time, but 95 percent of what I plan to write about will focus on what has been called “the middle period”.

Hope you enjoy it.