I thought I’d better put a short note up, explaining why I’m so late getting the second installment of Colonial Hygiene up.
I have a background in freelance journalism. Now, you have to understand, unlike staff reporters on a paper, I have to rely on my own devices to write an article, edit it myself, and get it sold to various print vehicles. So I have to be particular about what I report. A staff reporter, when they make a mistake, has the luxury of an editor to catch mistakes, and the reporter is readily forgiven unless it happens too many times. As a freelancer, one badly researched report can result in the paper becoming hesitant to take any further pieces from me, or being outright banned from submitting to them altogether.
I follow the basic creed of all good reporters; Who, What, When, Where and Why. If it calls for it, I also have to look into the lesser known rule, How.
I frankly don’t trust online sources, unless I know their reputation. I will avail myself, on occasion, to Wikipedia, but never take their entries as gospel. Let’s face it, they are submissions from the general public or corporations with an agenda, and sometimes they may not have their facts straight. Some do, but who can know?
So I will take notes from there and other online sites, and then make a short trip to my local librarian. Now, this poor woman cringes every time I walk in. She knows I will have an almost impossible assignment for her, considering we are in a small farming community. The good thing is, they are also linked with all the larger libraries, including the University library in the city, so there’s a good chance I will find some obscure books that will reveal what I need to know. She and I have about two or three hours of just looking though the computerized fiche just to find one small reference to what I’m looking for. I may have to wait a few days for a book I request, but at least I will have the straight facts from a respected, well known source. I will double and even triple check my facts with other publications, just to be sure they all coincide. Since my poor local librarian has recently gone into hiding every time I walk in, I decided to take the load off her a bit and visit the next town over, and go to their library. To my delight, I found the mother of my son’s friends working there, and we were long time friends. It will take her awhile to realize that my friendship is not strictly unselfish, but for now, she’s very willing to help.
Also, as per my penchant, I became obsessed with the research and ended up with a multitude of notes that no one could possibly be interested in, except for me, of course. I’m an addict when it comes to useless information. I wrote the piece, but also realized I had enough material for three long blog entries, and am now in the process of taking out all the boring and frankly disgusting information (soap making was indeed a very nasty, smelly process) that no one wants to know anyway. Hence, it's cut.
*Note: if you want to know about soap making, there is a ton of information about that subject, so I decided to forego the pleasure of informing you here.
Ergo, please be patient. I had a ton of cutting and editing to do, in an attempt to give you all an informative but interesting bit of information that you hopefully will find useful for your own projects, and to save you the trouble of doing all this nonsense yourself. I wanted to be sure that I was not only precise, but that you would at least find it entertaining. With me, that is a hard balance to find, because frankly, I’m an information geek. But at least I can cover what you wanted to know in one blog, instead of three.