Journalists are fond of saying that news is the rough draft of history. And historians, looking down their noses from a perceived superior perch, are inclined to agree. For that reason alone, I should probably make this the first and last post of my blog. Rough drafts are notoriously short-sighted, present-minded, and liable to large dollops of misguided folly.
With enough sandpaper, though, the rough may be smoothed. I’ve long adopted the maxim that ‘writing is thinking and thinking is hard.’ Any piece worth its salt, be it history or journalism, begins with a rough draft, and the sandpapering commences from there. The act of writing forces thought. Rethinking and rewriting make the analysis better. That will be the goal of these entries: to provide a series of rough-draft reflections that, with any luck, will lead—weeks, months or years later—to something resembling rough wisdom.
Sandpaper requested. Any thinking benefits from multiple points of view. I welcome comments though I will moderate them. Too many sites on the Web mistake bear-baiting for dialogue, invective for reflection. Thanks in advance for your charity and contributions.
James West Davidson
Occasional thoughts on history, teaching, paddling and the outdoors