Olivia Smithies Researching Writing Lives

I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Writing Lives module this year as I have felt it has been a rewarding and historically telling experience.

I felt quite ambitious to work on Rosa Bell’s memoir since it is approximately 14,000 words in length; her handwriting at the worst of times could often be very difficult to decipher. I had chosen this memoir because I felt that there would be more than plenty of material to work with when it came to each topic. It also took me a great deal of time to type it out which consumed most of my potential working hours in the upcoming weeks that followed to actually begin creating new posts which were only ready for proof reading by the end of the semester.

The memoir itself is a heart-warming read. It is a reflection of a grateful elderly lady looking back upon her younger years to appreciate the kindness that had surrounded her in such troubled times. Each entry consists of details about certain family members, the friends in her local community, incidents good and bad that had occurred as well as the pastimes that were available for the folk in the early twentieth century.

As touched as I was by her thankfulness for the people she loved and missed, I could not help but feel whenever she mentioned how rigorous and dangerous it was for the men and women who either had to work in the mines or bear endless numbers of children, that I appreciate growing up in the era that I did whilst I learn about hers.

I have found the module extremely helpful in getting into grips with social media and putting your work out there. I admit I was not very adept at using social networking websites and am still quite tentative about releasing my posts for the public. But, hopefully this will not concern me if I wish to do this for myself any time in the future.

The trips to the museums were also very insightful and it was exciting to see so many things that could connect back to what I was being taught in the classroom. Interacting closely with fellow classmates in order to gain support benefitted me greatly in many ways and it was always something I looked forward to each week.

I had noticed that many other students in the class had done extended research and even had made contact with relatives of their authors, but for me I did not consider this a disappointment. A good portion of the information regarding descendants and other information was already included in my memoir so I did not feel the need to waste time in breaching any further than what was already there.

I had quite a bit of difficulty in composing each post since I did not know which parts of the memoir to use when writing and how to upload photos, and I unfortunately did not ask for as much help as I should of. I also did forget certain things occasionally such as updating the weblog journal entries. But, it is a lesson that I should pass on if there is anybody I know who wishes to take this module for their own English course.

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