A to Z Challenge Reflections – 2018

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This is my sixth year participating in the A to Z Challenge. When I finished up last year, I planned to do the A to Z based on “small memories” that I had jotted down in a small notebook, figuring that I would have to do no research.  That did not happen. Instead I used the “small memories” to suggest poems that I wrote during April for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) which I posted on my other blog, Ruff Draft.

Back to A to Z. This year I had more of my posts written before the Challenge started. I had the majority of my research done before hand. The news items I was going to use were chosen early. Of course I changed a few of them along the way, but this year I was better prepared than any of the previous ones.

As always, I learned a lot about the people that I researched and their personal lives. And, most importantly, I wrote it up. I tend to get lost in the research with many interesting stories never seeing the light of day. That is my favorite part of A-Z, getting some of those stories down. You will find links to all my blog posts for the Challenge here – A to Z posts

I think I had about the same number of visitors this year as the other years, never an overwhelming number. I replied to all comments and visited back everyone who commented on my posts.

Last year I added my favorite A to Z blogs to my Feedly so when the Challenge started, I visited all of them to see which ones were participating and followed them again this year. I did not roam around on the list. I don’t even know who was above or below me. I would set to the category of “Genealogy” and  visit those. I visited some people who commented on blogs I was following.I did not use the fb link. I don’t use twitter any more.

I enjoy visiting other blogs, but there are only so many I can read day by day and get my posts done. I always mean to go visit some of the ones I have afterwards, but I get out of the way of doing it. I think what I will do is put them in my Feedly when I find them so they will not fade from my attention.

Several people commented everyday. There was a core group that visited me and I visited them. Some of those that I visited are listed below:

A few days before the Challenge started this year, I received 41 letters that my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage wrote to a friend from 1903 to 1905. I put off giving them a close read until the challenge was over because I didn’t have the time to devote to them that I needed.  I am now in the middle of transcribing and contextualizing them. So amazing to read her words about what she was doing at ages 16-19 years old.

Since I haven’t seen a Survivor badge yet, I made my own.

14 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge Reflections – 2018

  1. Hi Kristin – it must be so interesting to be able to research so deeply into your family … well done on doing the challenge and generally keeping up – cheers Hilary

    1. It is! Thanks Hilary, I enjoyed your Canada posts when I made it over there. I have a few Canadian cousins.

  2. Hi Kristin
    Congratulations on completing another challenge. I thought it was a very clever theme and I really appreciated the amount of research you put in to go beyond each announcement. Collectively with your posts you have produced a terrific insight into the lives and times of Montgomery Alabama from 1917-1920. Some of the things were very shocking to me like the reduction the number of school days and the escape from a threatened lynching. History of individuals brings broader history into much better perspective.
    Interesting as I wrote those dates I realised one of the differences from Australia, I don’t think one of your posts mentioned the war (perhaps I have forgotten). In Australia obituaries would mention sons or grandsons serving, people would be home on leave …

    I look forward to your 2019 research – the Edelweiss club?


    1. The draft started in the US in 1917. The war was over in Nov. 1918. There were mentions in some of the letters of men who were waiting to be called up or who had been and were waiting to find out what was going to happen with them in the segregated armed services. I know Rev. Scott’s son was in the service and ended up in France. One of my grandfather’s friends wrote about being called up and hoping that he didn’t have to train in a Southern Camp because of the racism. Several of the other men were in the service for a year or less and never made it out of the country. There were articles about the war and discrimination and segregation in the armed services in The Emancipator but they didn’t mention local people. Often they were opinion pieces.

  3. Cool badge! 🙂 Congratulations on surviving 6th, wow!

    And I’m blown away by the news of your grandma’s letters, that’s just beyond fantastic! How fascinating!

    Thanks for the shout out, btw. Your theme was captivating. History is mostly told from the POV of big events and famous people. I’m equally if not more interested in the lives and voices of ordinary folk. To which your posts provided lovely insights.

    1. They had just been sold to the University of Georgia, Athens when I became aware that they even existed. The strange thing is that neither she nor the young man she was exchanging letters with was well known at all. The young man seemed to have saved all of the mail he received and eventually all the hundreds of pieces (which included my grandmother’s letters) ended up being sold after his death. I was lucky the University purchased them and I had the opportunity to purchase scans very reasonably. I could never have afforded to buy them. Anyway, I will write about it all once I get organized.

      I like to know what “regular” people are doing too.

  4. I came very late to the discovery of your series Kristin, but have found it utterly fascinating and marked it for more leisurely viewing this month.

    Congratulations on completing six challenges and thumbs up on the badge – love it!

  5. Well we made it to the end! That is awesome about finding your grandmothers letters! Will they be in display in Athens at any point? Maybe you could visit to see them in person. My mom lives near Athens and I’ve visited their GA library for research! For some reason I listed your 2017 A To Z – thinking you didn’t write this year. I must go and check out this years now. Silly Me!

    1. I don’t know about being on display, I don’t think so. I’ve been there to see exhibits in the art dept but not the archives. The scans are pretty good, I probably won’t go to see them. I have other, much later letters from her. I’m glad you found me!

  6. I wondered about your Survivor badge… I couldn’t find one either, but found one on someone’s page and took it from there. I can’t wait to hear about all those letters your grandmother wrote. If they are on display in Athens at the GA. library there, I might be able to swing by for some photos of them displayed. Keep me posted. I’m one town over when I visit my mom.

    1. I’m pretty sure they are NOT on display, just in their collection. Thank you for the offer though. If I find they are on display, I will get up there myself!!

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