Bessie Wallis (b. 1904) Researching Writing Lives

My YESTERDAYS were an equal mixture of good and bad… Life was what we made it when I was a child in Yorkshire before the First World War’ (1, a)

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I can honestly say I have highly enjoyed being a blogger. There is nothing more motivating and pleasurable than seeing your latest blog gain retweets and comments. What I find most appealing about the Writing Lives project is it is allowing people like Bessie Wallis, to have the voice she longed for. I can honestly say through the extensive research I have undertaken that being a woman in the early twentieth century itself brought limits, but also being working-class meant women had little hope of being important to the world outside their family units.

It has been an honour to be included in a project that gives people of the same class as I a voice which allowed them to contribute to our understanding of history. I have published a detailed blog on Bessie Wallis, using quotes from her original memoir and also used quotes from statistics from this period to explain and analyse her opinions. I have also included a range of secondary sources which exert both clarity and further research into why and how Bessie lived her life. What I find rewarding about the Writing Lives project is that the author is unaware of how beneficial their memoirs have been to today’s generation in learning about life in their eras; I find my work important in allowing their voices to not go unnoticed and to present how influential their lives were to today’s society. For example many working-class memoirs talk of the hardship of life and how the working-class society were family orientated and did not stray far from their birthing ground; Bessie Wallis ignores this idea although being close to some members of her family. Although she was always proud of her roots she did not allow them to define her and left her home town to pursue her education and even emigrated to Australia before returning to London in later life. By researching the working-class society in detail is allowed me to see differences between Bessie and other authors and statistics, allowing me to gain a real understanding of the hardship of Bessie’s and other working-class authors lives.

Although it would be possible to access these memoirs, I believe the Working Lives project gives accessibility to people who usually may not have the resources to gain this information. I also believe as an academic student when researching a certain topic it is very time consuming to read twenty memoirs, whereas the blogs me and my peers have provided give clear chapters and make it easy to gain information readers wish for. Previous to this project I had never blogged before, so being an amateur to the blogging world it was beneficial to have one clear focus for each post which allowed me to successfully include all the required content for each individual post. What I found positive about the separated categories of post was being able to identify the categories within Bessie’s memoir to have relevant quotations for each post keeping every post relevant to its title.

What has been most important when getting my blogs is the use of social media. Using both my personal accounts on Facebook and Twitter, I was able to communicate with students, academic professionals and members of the public who wished for a different kind of read. I find using social media allowed my work to gain followers who tuned in every week to read the different chapters that gave insight into the life of Bessie Wallis. I enjoyed taking a professional approach to social media as it attracted many different readers and there was nothing more rewarding than seeing readers share my blog posts for their followers to also read. I believe in today’s society it is a life essential to be able to professionally share information online.

The Writing Live project is beneficial in many ways, but for myself it is beneficial to have a publically visible account of my work that I am able to present to future employers. I do intend to continue my research on Bessie Wallis’ life as it would be lovely to gain contact with ancestors who may be able to give more insight into her life and also allow them contact with their ancestry past.

 

Bibliography

Wallis, Bessie. Yesterdays, Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography, University of Brunel Library, Special Collection, 2:0794

 

Image Reference

Pinterest. Pen on Paper. Accessed 07/02/2016

 

 

 

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