Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Share Your World – August 7, 2017

I’m going to play fast and loose with the “Share Your World” challenge for this week. While I have answers for all for of her questions, I’m going to focus on two that are somewhat related.

Cee asks, What was the last URL that you bookmarked or saved?

OK, since I’m inclined to respond to questions honestly, I checked the bookmarks manager to see if it listed my saved URLs in chronological order. I’d hate to get caught in a lie by telling you the third or second last bookmark, and not THE last one.

That’s me folks. Don’t want to be caught in a fib. I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Reverend Schweitzer, my grade one teacher, Miss Scully, and dear old dad.

While I cannot tell you precisely the last bookmarked site, here are some of the more recent. For example, there’s Nina’s blog, starting from January, 2015. I lost track of her during my year away from blogging, and now I want to catch up. There’s also Bookbub. Janis recommended it and since I’m having a difficult time finding good things to read, I want to give it a try. (That’s another reason I bookmarked Nina. Good reading, many posts. Just like my other “go to” bedtime reading, Joey.)

I meant to bookmark the Tweedsmuir history page from FWIO. Remember the WI? I helped launch a branch in Paris back in 2015. Unfortunately, the nearest branch to me is two hours away. Anyway, the FWIO Tweedsmuir coordinator called and asked me to help locate the community histories that had been compiled by the Women’s Institute in the Temiskaming District. That’s been a fun job, not unlike mineral collecting in that I look for places that might bear treasures and sometimes I get lucky!

There’s another project in the works, too. For that, I bookmarked two pages from the Cobalt Public Library. Back in 1972, the Town arranged for a series of interviews of Cobalt residents. The 60-point questionnaire and the respondents’ answers are recorded on the library website, but they are presented in a less than useful manner. The questions are listed at the top of the web page, and then, person by person, you can read their answers as you scroll down more than 400 pages. Some are only partially complete, and since the questions are not repeated for each interview, some of the answers are cryptic or confusing.

Meanwhile, the library hired a summer student to digitize the photos and other ephemera that have been donated over the years. In the fall, I will complete the work and upload the files to an online catalog.  My plan is to write vignettes for each person who was interviewed 45 years ago, and add images, news clippings, recipes, maps, etc. from the donated scrapbooks and photo albums.

Maybe I’ll have this done by 2022 – in time for a 50th anniversary of the first round of interviews. It’s exciting. This is right up my alley. First of all, it’s like a treasure hunt. The project also appeals to my sense of making order out of data – I love making spreadsheets.


Most of all, I’ll be in story-telling mode, something I love to do. It’s interesting to note that reporting real life stories appeals to me, but I can’t write fiction. I don’t know why, really. I used to think that I have a poor imagination. If you read this post, you’ll see that I had no trouble with “making stuff up” when I was a kid. Somewhere down the line I lost that talent.

Sometimes I wonder if I trend a bit toward Asperger’s on the autism spectrum. I am far more comfortable with the literal, the black and white, the “truth” of the matter.

Then again, maybe my problem is team Schweitzer et al who are hovering over my shoulder…

***   ***   ***

Inspired by Cee who asked, among other questions,

What was the last URL that you bookmarked or saved?

If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels?

Categories: Blog Blog Blog, Personal Growth

Tags: , ,

43 replies

  1. It is actually a good question. But it reminds me that I almost never go back and find my bookmarks or saved videos on Facebook either, for that matter. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s easy to forget that you bookmarked something, which goes along, in academia, with reading a source and forgetting to cite it for later.

    That’s a really interesting prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Noah. I agree that it’s easy to forget your reason for saving a site.

      I also have the problem of wishing I kept better track of the little tidbits that I uncover. I’ll see a photo of an old mine site, for example, and recognize an interesting detail but I don’t save the image or the site. Then, weeks or months later, I’ll have a need to recall that information – do you think I can find it? HA!


  3. I’m so happy that you are involved in an interesting project – there’s nothing better than having something intriguing to look forward to every day.

    Have you downloaded anything from BookBub yet? Sometimes I go to their main site to see all the selections (not just the ones they send me). I’m always amazed at the quality of the offerings… for just $1.99!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t found anything yet on BookBub. I’m finding that nothing intrigues me enough to get beyond my preference for holding the real book in my hands. It might just be that I’m in a non-reading phase, too, and I just don’t realize it.

      I will check the main site, though, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m delighted to be in your nigh-nigh reading list 🙂 Thank you!
    I do like the idea of this project, it’s interesting. All those vignettes will add up to a real record, and that’s inspiring in that way that ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ way.
    Today I saved a recipe for Irish soda bread. It’ll be months before I make it, but I have it.
    I like what you said about leaning into the spectrum. Once again, you remind me of my Moo.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you are an amazing story-teller. Without exaggeration, I think you could make a grocery list entertaining to read. This project sounds perfect for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The local history project sounds interesting. Would that be when the town was just starting to grow? Were these some of the first residents?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Actually I don’t have a preference. Except for the humor when I pull it off.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The library gig sounds like such an interesting project. Storytelling is my favorite activity and “making order out of data” has been my career. Good luck with that, and I hope you can point us to bits of it as you go along.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think it’s only natural for each of us to have certain styles of writing that we are comfortable with, and others that we are not, and to stick with what we are good at. (I love one author when she writes in the third person, but can’t wade through her books when she writes in the first person.) There’s nothing wrong with preferring facts and figures to making up stories, and it is possible that you feel such a strong urge to tell the truth that making up fiction comes hard. Personally, I got better at fiction (and writing in general) when I learned to turn off my inner critic that was always saying, “but here’s where you’re wrong….”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting and, upon reflection, an understandable reaction. That is, a reader might respond differently to first person vs. third. I haven’t paid attention to my own experience, but will going forward.

      Isn’t it funny, how our inner critic insists on the whole truth, nothing but the truth so help us God? I’m getting better, but it sure does not come naturally. Which, I suppose is a good thing. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I can hear the excitement in your words, Maggie – to get a project that sparks the inner muse is always a fantastic thing.

    And I thought the same thing while reading your post – BLOG FODDER!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You have some interesting bookmarks 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have no idea what the last site I bookmarked….and I’ve never gone to ‘clean the list up’ so odds are there’s a bunch of stuff there I no longer care about. But I don’t want to know so I’m not going to look.

    The project at the library sounds interesting. I did a little of that when I was a grad student/intern at a public library a few (OK a lot) years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I bookmark so many sites using so many machines that I’d not know the answer to that question either. Of course, like you, I must tell the truth– although in my case it’d be Rev. Emmons and Mrs. Slack with my father, who’d strike me down if I told a fib.

    I love the idea that there are cryptic questions on the old questionaires. Those questions sound like great blog post fodder to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I may be straying towards the philosophical here, but I’ve begun to see that there is often more “truth” in fiction than there is in nonfiction. Particularly those memoirs that almost feel like they are trying to reach for significance where none exists.


  15. It sounds like a huge, but fun, undertaking. I hope you enjoy it!


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