Piers Inman Researching Writing Lives

Researching and writing about the life of Charles V. Skargon was my first foray into the world of blogging. I was apprehensive and a little intimidated at first at the task I had let myself in for as I had no prior experience to draw on and little awareness of blogging itself. I’m afraid I came into the project with no idea of what I was doing, but the opportunity to do something new and different was just too appealing to pass up.

I picked Charles V. Skargon as my subject as the fact that he was a seaman during the First World War seemed like a fascinating perspective to see the war from. As I first started to read his memoirs From Boy to Man the Hard Way I immediately became drawn in by the sincere and unapologetic voice he wrote with. I had never encountered before such a genuine voice in writing and I was hooked from there on trying to do him good service by promoting his work to the world outside the collaborative project.

Skargon’s story is one of adventure and duty, and I felt truly awed, inspired, and, to be honest, a bit jealous of all he achieved in his life. In so many ways did I feel a connexion which spanned generations, such as his life in Liverpool where I too live and the desire to go out and see the world. His life has taught me the real power of responsibility and duty, his iron will to work to his utmost in calm and stormy weather and still months later after first reading the memoirs I feel a resonance that his writing has ingrained in me.

Writing the blog posts was a role I undertook with the urge to encourage others to read the memoirs which I so enjoyed and felt meaningful. Not just this, but the text is an intriguing piece of historical writing which goes into extraordinary depth in detailing the life of a mariner in the early Twentieth Century and during the war and describing the inner workings of every ship he worked on, from lightvessels to troopships. It taught me a great deal about the maritime industry which I’m sure I’ll never forget.

The research involved in the task was a bit different to the type of research I was used to. It really helped drawing upon the thoughts and opinions of the other people involved in the project and to me the whole process feels as if it has instilled a sense of community among us. A colleague, Julia Heath, and I both helped each other by proofreading each others’ work before submission. This really helped me see my work from another perspective and helped me grow as a writer. The writing style that is involved in blogging too was different and I had to modify my writing to it. Although a little challenging, once I got the hang of it the writing felt fairly liberating from the formal writing I was used to beforehand.

The use of social media in this project was not something I was accustomed to either, having had no experience of using Twitter before the start. Using it felt strange as an academic resource but soon I came to realise that it was beneficial in many ways, to network with the other bloggers on the project as well as advertising the project and specifically my own research.

I will never forget this experience and have loved every minute that I have spent researching and blogging about Charles V. Skargon. I know that I will cherish the time I have spent on this project for years to come and hopefully my work with this extraordinary author will not go to waste for his memoirs are a treasure and should be shared with the world and for years to come. As a final note, I would like to honour Charles V. Skargon my respects for letting me delve into his life and see all the things he saw through his eyes. I feel deeply appreciative and I wish him all the best beyond the grave with his writing.

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