Saturday, May 27, 2017

ORNERY PEOPLE--beginning to take shape

Before stopping to proofread MOBY-DICK still yet again another time once more I had been moving items out of the big ORNERY PEOPLE file into a smaller file called GLIMPSES. I want to put hundreds of Glimpses from the 1600s to the present in chronological order as close as that's possible--each one just half a page or a page, from documents. As of tonight I have cleaned up half the Glimpses by starting each item with a year. There will be many duplicates, but I think I have many more items to pick up from the big ORNERY PEOPLE file. Tonight, before weeding out duplicates, I have 993 Glimpses items. Some will have to be taken out of a newspaper page still rather than being in a short excerpt of a document, but the information is all there. At a guess, in a few weeks I will have 1500 or 2000 Glimpses of direct ancestors or aunts and uncles and cousins. Then it will be a matter of ordering, selecting, re-selecting, presenting.

I don't think anyone has done this. That is, I don't think any ordinary American has ever started from two tiny anecdotes and compiled such a pile of documents from phases of American history.  My idea has always been that I am a representative Depression Okie and that anyone from eastern Oklahoma whose folks had been there by the 1840s or had been in Arkansas by the late 1810s could do something quite comparable, paralleling my story. Neighbors were Heflins, for example. They had their movie star in the family, too, and a great Melville scholar!, and a U.S. Senator, and in all likelihood had been around from the 1600s too.

I don't know the best way of proceeding, what sort of choices now would make publication easier. This is where I need the brilliant teenager with fast publishing experience. But it's taking shape.

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