Happy 2012 !!!!
I am 60 years old. I am unemployed. I am looking at retirement with no income (notwithstanding the small $1k a month from SS after next summer). I am one (of my wife’s) paycheck away from homelessness and poverty. My savings, my home, and my career were swept away by Katrina and the Great Recession.
I have 4 things going for me:
A wife that loves me.
A lifetime of historical teaching, learning, and research.
The 1718 Project
So, AARP, the church, the Free Market , the Liberal Artsß- where to go, what to do?
I recently had my 60th birthday. On that day I had a job, a new (different) car, and exactly 42¢ in the bank. On samhain (hallowe’en to the uninitiated) we sold our house and land at Beltaine Wood for half its value. I am once again unemployed. I have a car I cannot pay for.
As I write this Frank is singing’ “That’s Life” - puppet, pauper, pirate, poet, pawn and king; up and down and over and out;
Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race. That’s Life !!!!
At this point, I have picked up, dusted off, and got back - but no one seems interested.
Ok, I’ve been the “Law of Attaction” route. I’ve been the Catholic route, I’ve been the pagan route, I’ve been the volunteer route, nothing I do seems to turn into anything meaningful - i.e. financially sustaining and/or spiritually fulfilling. I don’t know what or who I am, I don’t know where I am or where I’m going - if anywhere? I don’t know what or where or who or how or why I am.
So what have I learned?
To live one day at a time;
Labor Day, 2011
Once again, I find myself retired. So now the plan is to pick up some temp work here and there; to check out real “Retirement Jobs”, and to immerse myself back into the 1718 Project.
As the cookbook portion of the project seems the most viable at the moment, I have the means presently to prepare for local magazine proposals a set of stories, menus, and recipes I am calling the ORIGINAL Original Creole Cookbook.Of course, creole is wrong word here because all of the articles will deal with the “charter” settlers of Louisiana and New Orleans - not the succeeding Creole generations. Eh, I’ll work it out. I think I’ll call it the ORIGINAL Original New Orleans Cookbook.
Anyway, as a teaser, the first story/recepies will be based on what may be called the first recorded Louisiana meal in history. On Cat Island, March 1st, 1699. Iberville recorded in his journal that his party of explorers - including brother Bienville - enjoyed a meal of bustards (Canada geese), racoon, and “some rather tasty oysters”. The next day, Iberville and Co. floundered into the Mississippi River and made their way up to a small bayou and spit of land where they camped for the night. The following day - Mardi Gras, 1699 - they sang a Mass, named the Bayou and the Point Mardi Gras, claimed (or, reclaimed) the river for Louis XIV and La France, and then proceeded upsteam to discover the Bayou St. John Portage.
Other than the minor matter of discovering the mouth of the Mississippi, these events have a wonderful and powerful connection with the culture of our great city and region today. This first recorded meal took place on what is today, Bacchus Sunday. The river was discovered on Lundi Gras, and Mardi Gras marked the first significant exploration of what is today SE Louisiana.
These facts will be presented in a more detailed and publishable form to some local food magazines and the local newsprint press as well. Hopefully, you will be able to read the full account in print before long. Wish me luck.
See you next time . . .
My first self-imposed deadline was All Saint’s Day. My second deadline was Thanksgiving. Now, at last, the first proposals are done and have been sent. Since last summer, many things have come and gone. The work on the book and related web pages is proceeding, a bit slower than I would hope. I am still unemployed, for the long term it seems. The other adults in the household, wife, daughter, and son-in-law are all working. Between the three of them, can you believe we still cannot take home the required budget of $3300 a month. The employment situation is pitiful, all part time work, just under the 40 hour threshold at four jobs. I send out at least one application a week. I have applied for a half dozen jobs for which I meet all the qualifications. I have interviewed for three to no effect. There even was a job advertised last week to throw newspapers in my areas, no soap, no way. The house goes up for sale after Christmas.
But enough of this gloom and doom. The 1718 Project is on track! Chapter one is finished. Indians and Bayous are documented and discussed. Undoubtedly, there will be some revisions, but the structure is there to window dress. I am going back to the material on Africans and slavery and the free blacks. These are another people who made heavy contributions to the Creole culture that is emerging in the book.
The website is growing. The Facebook page is up. I hope to work on these some more this week. I have no idea what will happen in the upcoming days and weeks. I’m pretty sure no one is reading this stuff. There are so many blogs out there – here’s hoping someone will find me and the Project. 12/7/10
The theme today is loss of focus. Two months have come and gone since the 1718 project began in earnest. Two months without the glimmer of a job on the horizon. Two months of research and note taking on the book. Work on the blog, work on the website, no communication with the external forces that will justify the project. All of this combines into high summer ennui. Beth (my wife) was on vacation last week, and we actually made a little headway with photos and some work on the website. This put me off my routine, and then the doubts started to creep in. Who would be interested in this project; am I kidding myself, etc.etc.
Anyway, I have a new job hunt plan. I have a bunch of books to read and process- both in substance and methodolgy. And some new PR attempts to implement. I have the resources to last another sixty days before the creditors break down the doors. So this week, the first week of the dog days of August, is my week to recapture my focus.
See you next time.
It’s been an interesting weekend. First we had a tropical storm coming right at us. Then we didn’t, the storm fizzled out, but not before it knocked out our phone service (read “Internet”). I am posting this from a Wi-Fi enabled coffeehouse. But, with no Internet, we were able to do a lot of web site building and writing.
I was able to add the info on French colonial policy to the book notes, Beth has begun editing one of her books for e-publication. Before the ‘Net went out, we were able to get a lot of research done for the initial publication of our books directly on our own website. We have now put in place the necessary software to create e-books and then offer them for sale ourselves. The thinking is that when we begin to see significant sales numbers, we then have a good case to put before commercial publishers.
The new web site is coming along as well, I am trying to get a home page up before too long.
Our next challenge as we begin to make copies of our works available on our website, will be the technical end of marketing, promotion, pricing, payment processing, etc. Meanwhile, production on the actual book content becomes ever more important. I am also going to begin to promote this blog, which is yet another skill subset.
Now, back to the book project. This week I have to do:
• The Phelypeaux (Pontchartrain) family
• outline the “colonial women” essay
• refine, promote & upgrade the blog
• tech work on website “site structure”
• the “1718” book web pages
See you next time.
To begin today, I want to thank those friends and colleagues who took the time to check out this blog. I truly appreciate it. A blog is only as good as its readers. And this one has very good readers.
This week I have set myself three tasks: (1) I am still working the “websites with Flash” textbook, even as I create the “1718” web pages. (2) the research and writing is focused on Louis XIV’s colonial policy (hint: he didn’t have one), and (3) also this week, I am working on the Fellowship grant narrative for the NEH.
As I sat here this morning wondering whether or not to write about how, as all writers, I need an income, I just got an order from alibris for an antiquarian book that I had for sale. It sold for a tidy sum, too. It’s always good to be encouraged.
I am finding loads of books/colonial resources on Googlebooks. Today, I’ve located several sources on colonial New orleans women.
See you next time.
Spent yesterday celebrating Bastille Day – Vive La France !, Vive Libertie, Egalite, Franternitie !
Well, works proceeds well. Yesterday, I spent about 4 hours creating the 1718 portal page. Most of the time was spent on the lame dial-up downloading pictures to photoshop into backgrounds for the web project. The actual web page only took a few minutes in GoLive to create, once all the elements were in place. It still needs some editing, but it should be up in a few days.
Today, I spent in the city doing library work at Loyola, gathering data, and putting more infrastructure into place – getting OKed for Loyola’s WiFi—. I got a few more leads from bibliographies. I need to get an overview of Louis XIV’s colonial policy – or lack thereof – to serve as a literary envelope for France’s continued mismanagement of Louisiana. I tell you if it wasn’t for Bienville everything French about Louisiana would be either Spanish or British. And we would be just another American city on a river!
Anybody have any leads on the feminine side of the colony. I’m getting bits and pieces, but I need to get a lot more info on the Ursulines, the casket girls, the quadroons,and those “other” women who came to the city in it’s infancy.
See you next time.
Today provides a status report. the composition of the book, “1718: A TriCentennial Memorandum” continues apace. The first draft of the the segment about the actual founding of the city is finished. Today’s composition concentrated on the local Indian nations and groups around New Orleans in 1718. To date, I have registered two new domains on the web for the 1718 project.
www.1718neworleans.com will be the academic portion of the project, including the book, the e book, and information on the planned teacher workshops. Also included are links to various academic resources, research centers, and museums. This website is under construction.
www.1718company.com will be the commercial portion of the project and will include the shopping cart and the travel service. This is still an idea as of now, not a reality.
See you next time.
You know, I’ve been around technology and IT since the 70’s. I’ve been an Internet geek since 1994. Yet, I could never figure out what to do with a blog. In lots of ways I’m still a very traditional guy. Now in the closing decade of a career that was built on History and the Macintosh computing platform, I have arrived at the moment of convergence. Here and now, all the important things and concepts of my professional life have become one.
Now that I have figured out what to do with a blog, this one will be used to chronicle the creation of and the continued existence of a long awaited project. This past May, as the current phase of my academic life was closing, I decided to use the time granted to me this summer (and beyond ???) to write a book that had been in the back of my mind for several years. In 8 years, my native city will be 300 years old. To prepare for, and - frankly - take advantage of, that upcoming event I began research on a book about the founding of the New Orleans. That research became the genesis of ever growing project that has the potential to overcome everything else I will do for the next decade.
The book and research, which I have tentatively titled, “1718: A TriCentennial Memorandum”, has spooled out into various grant applications, potential educational and schoolteacher workshops, a specialized travel service, as well as a new website, incipient Facebook marketing and presence, e-publishing, and - to date - this blog.
(One nice thing about a blog that I just noticed is that I do not have to say everything I want to say now, as I see this blog becoming part of my morning routine).
I want to close this entry with some gratitude to everyone who was instrumental in the founding of this new lifestyle. First to Beth, my ever-loving wife and partner, who has never doubted and always encouraged my hare-brained follies, foibles, and most importantly my successes, including this one. Next, thanks must go to my extended family. I grew up in a large family group of aunts, uncles, and cousins where, at Bar-B-Q’s, reunions, and holiday gatherings, at weddings and funerals, we were more inclined to sit around with a Dixie in hand and discuss family history, local and US history, and beyond as likely as any discussion of business and sports. You could say I absorbed more history and local lore in Daddy’s barroom and these family events than any academic course I ever took. Next, my students over these past many years, for listening to me - mostly - ramble and rant on all matters historical and technological. Especially I want to thank the ACHS Class of 2012, who challenged me to get on Facebook - to keep in touch - and further converged the more modern aspects of Internet life into my old fashioned ideas of books and websites.
See you next time.