Historical Analysis of the Forced Assimilation of Native Alaskan youths in Boarding Schools and Homes (2020)

“Moreover, the educators in the schools were, for the most part, doing what they believed was right. With the exception of those who intentionally engaged in violent and predatory behavior, most of the adults in the boarding schools were acting according to what was, at that point, considered acceptable practice” (Hirshberg, 2008).

            When the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in the 19th century, many of the Russian Orthodox schools shut down leaving many of the Alaskan Natives without access to education. This continued until around 1884 when boarding schools and housing programs were erected and the compulsory education of Native Alaskan indigenous started in an attempt to assimilate them into American culture (Getches, 1977). In 1885, the Department of the Interior established the “General Agent of Education” offices (Department of the Interior, 1886). At the time, a Presbyterian minister named Sheldon Jackson was appointed as Territory’s General Agent of Education which led to the construction of many schools including the Wrangell Institute in Sitka, Alaska. Jackson reported to Congress that the Native Alaskans were savages and felt as if it were his duty to instruct them both morally and in the way of civilization (Department of Interior, 1886). Children were forced to leave their homes, sometimes as young as age five, to attend these schools in South Central Alaska leaving their parents and cultures behind them (Hirshberg, 2008). Following the U.S. purchase of Alaska in 1867, the forced assimilation of Native Alaskan youths led to abuse, negligence, and the destruction of rural culture and communities.

            By analyzing this topic through a legal and military lens, we can see how there was validation and justification for forcibly removing children from their homes. There were many factors that set the stage for Native Alaskan youths to find themselves carted away from their rural villages and placed in boarding homes and schools in South East Alaska. Compulsory education of Native Alaskan adolescents started with Alaska’s Organic Act passing through Congress in 1884 (Getches, 1977, para 3). In 1891, the United States passed a compulsory attendance law in New Mexico that required Native children to attend school and permitted law enforcement by federal officers (Laurence, 1977). These may seem unassociated, but they enforced one another, allowing both elected officials and the military in Alaska the power to remove children from their homes and place them in these schools. Without legal backing, the children would never have left their homes in the first place.

            The majority of Alaskan villages are sprinkled over vast, harsh, and desolate stretches of uninhabited lands. Even today, most of these rural villages are only accessible by boat or plane. In the 19th century, transportation was even more difficult, making the shipping of supplies expensive and unreliable. This, combined with the low population of students in isolated villages, made it difficult to build and sustain schools within villages. It was more cost-effective and logical to send children down south to stay in boarding homes and schools than it was to build and staff schools in each village (Getches, 1977). The reasonings were valid, and children were carted off to religious ran institutions established within South East Alaska.

            With the religious historical lens in mind, we can understand how normal people could come to allow cruel injustices to take place regarding children. In 1866, Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian minister and the General Agent of Education in Alaska wrote to Congress, “They are savages, and, with the exception of those in Southern Alaska, have not had civilizing, educational, or religious advantages” (Department of the Interior, 1886, para 64). This perception of Native Alaskans reflected the beliefs of American society at the time. The instructors tending to these children thought it was their responsibility to not only instruct these children’s education, but their morality, and this set the stage for abuse and the destruction of Native Alaskan cultures.

            A look at this topic through the social lens illustrates the vast and complex impact Native Alaskan Boarding schools had not only on the generations which attended, but those left behind and the following generations raised by its attendees. The Native Alaskan youths were carted away from their homes for the winter months, leaving their villages void of children for the darkest and coldest time of the year. In Hirshberg’s report she wrote, “When the children were taken away to boarding school the parents turned to alcohol for solace. One described how this led both to the accidental drowning of children left unsupervised while adults were drinking, as well as a rash of suicides by younger community members” (Hirshberg, 2008, p. 26, para 6). These schools not only had a lasting impact on the villages left behind but the students enduring deplorable conditions within the boarding schools and homes.

One student recalled, “I do remember that at lights off, when one would start crying, then the whole dorm would start crying….Sometimes I still hear little children crying, you know.” (Hirshberg, 2018). When arriving at the boarding homes and schools, they were faced with racism from other non-Native peers, being treated differently by their instructors than non-Native students, forbidden to use their Native languages, and suffering the loneliness of homesickness (Hirshberg, 2008). The students reported both positive and negative experiences. If the student’s home life was more abusive or negligent than the boarding schools, the students often reported an overall positive experience. There were also accounts of the life-long friendships obtained, being able to see life outside of the village, a sense of being motivated, and access to extra-curricular activities that helped balance out the negative experiences (Hirshberg, 2008).
            One of the more tragic and consistent experiences reported by students was that of physical and sexual abuse. Multiple suicides were recorded occurring within the boarding schools and of students after graduation (Hirshberg, 2008, p. 5). In Diane Hirshberg’s (2008) collection of interviews, one of the students recalled,

“And the thing that I remember most about Wrangell, to this day, is they used to pull everybody from the boy’s dorm… whenever they caught somebody, they’d bring the whole dorm down there, and they’d have the two biggest boys in the dorm, and they would give them razor straps, you know the kind you sharpen razors with, and if a Native boy, now that’s all that was in Wrangell Institute at the time, if they spoke their own language, they got swatted 10 times by two of the biggest boys in school” (Hirshberg, 2018, p. 13, para 3).

Although when questioned, many prior students preferred to remain silent, multiple accounts of sexual assault were recorded taking place within both the boarding homes and schools. Still, the evidence of sexual and physical assaults is underreported as, “…students indicated they had no effective avenue of reporting abuse” (Hirschberg, 2008, p. 16, para 4). Hirshberg accounts that there were many students she was unable to interview because they had either committed suicide, lost themselves to addiction, or were currently homeless following their educations within these institutions.

            These boarding schools and homes remained regular practice until Native Alaskans sued the State of Alaska in 1975 for the right to have schools built in villages in what became known as the Molly Hootch case (Hootch v. Alaska State-Operated School System, 1975). This case was monumental to the education of Native Alaskan youths because it required the State of Alaska to provide a high school to any village which wanted one regardless of the population. Currently, there are still concerns regarding the quality of education these schools provide for Native Alaskan children. As resources are limited, and the class sizes mean fewer instructors often taking on the responsibility of teaching multiple disciplines. Hirshberg’s intention for creating her report was to remind the Alaskan people of what happened prior in boarding schools and homes as it is a recurrent discussion as to whether to reopen them or not.

            There were many long-lasting consequences to these schools that still impact Native Alaskan culture and society. In Hirshberg’s report, students reflected on how they suffered a loss of identity and the opportunity to be raised by their families and village. They lost the chance to learn important skill sets and felt as if they were no longer a part of their Native communities. Another consequence is that now there is a problem with parenting. This generation that was not able to see how to raise a child now does not know how to raise their own children. In that same thread, they are unable to pass down the knowledge that they would have learned from their villages had they received traditional instruction.

            The psychological damage, the loss of identity, and the lack of seeing how to parent have further affected these communities. Many of the students committed suicide, developed addictions, ended up homeless, or reported PTSD from their experiences at these boarding schools. Many former students reflected on how they left these institutions not even remembering their first languages, which is terrifying considering most of these languages do not have a written counterpart and are kept alive by oral tradition. Most damaging, though, is that not only did these cultures lose generations of lessons traditionally passed down from their elders, but they lost the knowledge of how to parent in general. One student was quoted, “The guidance, we missed out the guidance that we could have received from them… So when I see parents not doing anything with their children, parents that are my age, I think about that” (Hirshberg, 2018). This has a trickle-down effect from generation to generation leading to the neglect and mal-instruction of future children beyond those forced into these schools.

            By analyzing this topic through multiple lenses, it becomes clear that the issue, both current and past, of boarding schools within Alaska, is complex. While looking at the intentions of people such as Sheldon Jackson and the instructors who did not stop abuse from occurring, it becomes evident that their intentions were not evil. They believed they were strengthening moral integrity, exercising a sense of patriotism and nationality, and saving children’s souls based on their religious doctrines. Analyzing the subject through social lenses shows us the full impact of Alaskan boarding schools during the initial years of instruction and their long-term effects generationally. By looking at the topic through this lens, the interconnectivity between student experiences and the preservation of cultural beliefs within future generations becomes evident.

The next aspect to consider is one of the future. There is still a need for quality education within rural villages. Although schools are provided, small classroom sizes and limited resources provide modern resistance to supplying these children with an adequate high school experience. The discussion of whether or not to reopen these schools to Native Alaskan youth is a recurrent one, which makes the analyzation of past events and analyzing the way these events affect multiple aspects of the human experience all the more important when it comes to community decisions. I chose to research the impact of boarding schools and homes on Alaskan Native culture because I am an Alaskan resident and a writer with the power to ensure people are informed about the past to make decisions about the future re-opening theses schools is a reoccurring issue within Alaska. Before conducting research, I believed all boarding schools and homes were detrimental to Alaskan Natives and should never re-open. However, after diving into the research and source material, my viewpoint became more balanced. Suppose Alaskans take the painful mistakes of the past and create solutions to prevent history from repeating itself. In that case, these schools are a viable option for ensuring students living in small, rural villages acquire an adequate education. By implementing Native Alaskan instructors, curriculum preserving cultural tradition and heritage, utilizing technology to keep students connected with families throughout the long months away from home, giving the parents a choice in sending their children to the schools or not, and ensuring there are protection and routes to report abuse or harassment it were to occur, the negative aspects of these schools is eliminated. If I were to conduct further research on this topic, I would dive into analyzing the rates of alcoholism and the mental health impacts of these communities at a deeper level.

References

Department of the Interior (1886, March 3). Letter. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from http://alaskaweb.org/govt/1886rpteduak.html

Getches, D. H. (1977, September). Law and Alaska Native Education. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from http://www.alaskool.org/native_ed/law/law_ane.html

Hirshberg, D. (2008). “It was bad or it was good:” Alaska Natives in Past Boarding Schools. Journal of American Indian Education47(3), 5.

Hootch v. Alaska State-Operated School System. (1975, May 23). Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://law.justia.com/cases/alaska/supreme-court/1975/2157-1.html

Laurence, R. (1977). Indian Education: Federal Compulsory School Attendance Law Applicable to American Indians: The Treaty-Making Period: 1857-1871. American Indian Law Review, 5(2), 393-413. doi:10.2307/20068040

An Introduction to Federalist and Anti-Federalist Arguments Regarding Constitution Ratification (2020)

“Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true” (Hamilton et al., 2009).

            James Madison’s words cut to the heart of America’s political division in his famous Federalist 10. In 1788, New York was divided by heated debates concerning the ratification of the newly framed Constitution. New York, being the eleventh state to ratify, was the lynch pin determining the success or failure of replacing the Articles of Confederation (Faber, 2019). Following the New York Convention Debates, an Anti-Federalist writing under the pen name Brutus hit the press in protest against ratifying the Constitution. Federalists Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were quick to respond with 85 articles published under the pseudonym Publius throughout New York newspapers. “The Federalist Papers” appeared in New York newspapers and journals to convince the split state to support the ratification of the Constitution, address the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, and rebuttal the concerns posed in Anti-Federalist arguments.

              To understand the depth of the division splitting New York at this time, it is important to understand the motivations for Anti-Federalist objection. Farmland occupied upstate New York and although being a landowner was indicative of wealth at this time, it implied substantial debt for most. Reasonably, these people were opposed to the increase of poll and cultivated land taxes that would come with the ratifying the Constitution (Main, 1961). Other Anti-Federalists feared strengthening a centralized government could lead to too much governing power. The American people had only recently freed themselves from the oppression of aristocracy during the Revolutionary War. They would fight tooth and nail to prevent the risk of creating a federal government that could evolve into similar tyranny over the American people (Brynner, 1994). Violence and rebellion had already sprouted over the country in preceding events, strengthening the vehemence of Anti-Federalist conviction.

            Shay’s Rebellion occurred in response to the state of Massachusetts attempting to increase and collect individual and trade tax (Brynner, 1994). The people took to arms and glaring issues with the Articles of Confederation were brought to light. The Federalists used the armed uprising to fuel their propaganda by spreading fear regarding how a weak centralized government would not have the militant power to aid states in maintaining the peace and protection of their civilians. Likewise, this enraged the Anti-Federalists as funding an army meant an increase in taxes (Main, 1961). In 1788, Pennsylvania shook with cannon fire and rallying cries as the Carlisle Riot erupted between Anti-Federalists and Federalists (Faber, 2019). By the time the debate reached New York, tensions were high. It was a fight, with ink and quill, for the favor of New York’s citizens.

           

References

Brynner, R. (1994). Cromwell’s Shadow over the Confederation: The Dread of Cyclical History in Revolutionary America. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 106, 35-52. Retrieved October 6, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25081083

Faber, M. (2019). Federalist Momentum. In An Anti-Federalist Constitution: The Development of Dissent in the Ratification Debates (pp. 76-93). Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. Retrieved October 9, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvj7wpjv.8

Hamilton, A., Madison, J., Jay, J., & Shapiro, I. (2009). The Federalist Papers : Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay. Yale University Press.

Jackson Turner Main. (1961). The Antifederalists : Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788. Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press.

One Hundred Short Stories

Over the years, I have written stacks upon stacks of short stories and a couple dusty novels outside of my work for other people. Other than a few released for last minute assignments or shared with the occasional, rare confidante, I have kept these hidden away. Margaret Atwood expressed my fears perfectly when she warned against publishing before thirty.

Ghost writing provided me an avenue to practice my work without having my name attached and build confidence in my voice. It taught me how to finish large projects from start to finish, the importance of a regular schedule, and allowed me the opportunity to build the endurance to follow through to the end. Even though they were not my story ideas, they gave me a solid foundation in my art.

I learned to detach from the manuscripts and push them onto the editors when it was time. I came to trust my editor’s feedback and take the lessons and criticisms with grace. Most important, I showed myself that there is no excuse for me to not do the same work for myself.

Why One Hundred Short Stories?

One hundred is a daunting number. At an average of 3,000 words per story, that’s a massive 300k words, or in other terms, a beautiful, three-part fantasy saga worth of work. So, why would I pick such a large number?

“The trick is to produce so much art, you just don’t care anymore–you want to give it away because you need space to create more art.” –Johnny Omnibus

Well, first off, I need the pressure of constant production to keep me from hanging onto pieces for too long. I will never feel they are good enough. I am not at my apex as a writer, and honestly, as a reader–I enjoy seeing my favorite author’s early blunders. I need to let other people judge and keep moving forward. There are too many stories brewing in my brain to keep re-writing the same pieces over and over again.

The second reason I am shooting for one hundred is because, from all of the research I have conducted, that is the point where you start making passive income with self-publishing shorts. Mind you, most of the people making a solid income are producing erotica, and that is not my niche. Still, the principle is the same–one hundred short stories is enough to have people see my name and go back and purchase some of my other works.

So, This is About the Money Then…?

No, not at all. This is about practice. I wish to practice the entire process and share that process with other writers–creating, editing, re-writing, proofreading, the creation of book covers, formatting, forming an ad campaign, building a platform, etc. I want to practice the process over and over and over again. I want to remove the tension and pressure from making ‘this one piece’ the best ever and detach entirely from results. I want to not worry about “is this my best piece” and worry more about, “Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea. Let’s get it to press. How fun.” I want to return to the seat of experimentation and exploration unabashed!

It’s also a fantastic, yet expensive, resume. There it is, a full anthology. Neatly packaged proof that I know what I am doing. I hope that might help with traditional publishing when it comes time to finish out my novels. Honestly, I might even produce some novels in the process of this project. I have three hashed out pretty well in my notebooks, just waiting for my time and attention. We’ll see. Keeping flexible is part of the game.

How Long Will This Take?

If I was not working full time and attending University, I could finish this project by August. That was my initial goal–write a short story every morning. However, I found I was burning out and realized I was slipping into the exact rhythm I loathed from ghost writing.

So, now, my new goal is to complete this project around the same time I graduate from University. If all goes to plan, I should have a well-drafted manuscript prepared along with my query letters, ready to launch into another career milestone. We’ll see though. Goals change as life changes me. I am excited to document this journey, and hopefully, it cures my stage fright.

What Exactly is the Plan Here?

  1. Continue writing short stories as they pop into my head. Focus on practicing new techniques as I learn about them. For example, right now, I am paying grave attention to my outlining process because I am what they call a “pantser.” A year ago, one of my issues was “head jumping.” Four years ago, it was sprinkling in commas arbitrarily and not understanding how they work with coordinating conjunctions.
  2. Document all these things I learn from my editors, education, reading, etc. In an ideal world, I will post daily on this journal. Ideally, one of these kinds of posts a week updating my people on my goals, my progress, my accomplishments, and what I’ve learned from the week. Then, following these up with short posts breaking down and re-teaching what I’ve learned. I also wish to post my essays, bad poetry, and to practice writing prompt free-writes. I probably won’t edit any of these. Why? Because I do that all day and like the stream of conscious feel. These two are ongoing tasks.
  3. After I finish a short story, post it to Scribophile for peer-review. I can write more on that later.
  4. Re-write and send off for developmental edits.
  5. Take notes on repeated mistakes to integrate into the creation of the next story. Re-write. Send off for line edits.
  6. Re-write. I haven’t decided if I’ll pay for proofreading or complete it myself. Most likely, I’ll knock it out on my own.
  7. Send it out for formatting while someone designs my e-book cover.
  8. Prepare my promotions for the launch date.
  9. Line up launch date with a day off to handle everything.
  10. Release for free for one week while continuing promotions. Up the price to $0.99 in week two. Up the price to $2.99 from there onwards. Run another promotion every ninety days as my budget allows.

How Am I Funding This?

Good question! Sacrifice, my friends, sacrifice…. I have a certain amount of money that pays my base line bills. 10% of my income goes to tithing because I am that person (take care of your community, people,) and then 10% of all income outside of that bills’ baseline I can spend how I want. The rest is fed back into my writing and taxes. Every year I make more money, and every year my 10% gets a little more comfortable. However, I am definitely paying for book covers instead of nights out, and I still have clothes in my closet from when I was fourteen.

When I started, I was working ten hours a day, six days a week in the service industry and taking on whatever projects I could for ridiculously low rates in my free time. I built up a reputation and was able to increase my rates. Now, seven years later, it’s my primary source of income. My bills are paid, and my budget is disciplined.

My point is, that even if you are slaving over a hot kitchen right now or scrubbing floors at midnight–if you have enough money for beer and fast food, you have enough money (and time) to make the dream work. I am kind of cutthroat about that perception and really only cut slack for the tired parent working and trying to catch a degree. If you’re in that latter category, though, you can still knock out fifteen minutes of journaling at some point in the day! I know it seems like a harsh judgement to say “anyone can do this, there is no excuse,” but I am pretty tired of hearing the “you’re so lucky” stacked with a million excuses on why people don’t chase their dreams while they’re simultaneously wasting every ounce of their opportunities on trash. It’s not luck, it’s work without immediate pay offs–maybe no pay offs. That’s the name of the game. Work for the sake of creation alone.

Historical Context of “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrads, and both New Criticism theory and Structuralism THeory (2021)

This is a short “journal” essay I pumped out for one of my classes this week. I am going to throw my older pieces up here as well. Feel free to leave feedback, questions, and commentary. Let’s nerd out! Note: this was a brief run down of the context surrounding “Heart of Darkness” and in no way is intended to minimalize the plight of the Congolese.

“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad was inspired by Belgium’s occupation of the Congo under King Leopold II’s guidance. Leopold II created a slave state of the Congo, to produce rubber, known as the “forgotten Holocaust.” Belgium enslaved the Congolese from 1865 to 1908. “Acts of violence and atrocity were committed that continue to weigh on our collective memory,” Philippe said in his letter, “I continue to express my deepest regrets for those past wounds” (“King Apologises for Belgium’s Bloody Colonial Rule of the Congo” para 6). Joseph Conrad wrote “Heart of Darkness” in 1899 while Leopold II was still claiming absolute authority over the Congo. The Belgian Congo existed until the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared independence in 1964.

New Criticism appeared in the 1930s, and Structuralism appeared in the 1950s. Both of these theories focus on the form of literary works over the text’s meaning (Bertens 46). Structuralism seeded following WWI and sprouted after WWII focusing on the schematics of language (Bertens 48). American New Criticism arose after WWI and during the heart of the American Great Depression. It focused on morality and aesthetic beauty backdropped against the grim economic struggles following the first world war.  “Great literature, with its focus on a spiritual realm of unselfish harmony where all petty quarrels are forgotten or have become irrelevant, could overcome social conflict and anti-patriotic sentiment….” The text continues on to discuss how “social and economic equality pales next to the equality” found in literature (Bertens 12) which reflects the juxtaposition of the beauty in literature and poetry contrasted against the horrors of humanity whether it is the Great Depression or enslavement of the Congolese.

Works Cited:

Bertens, Johannes Willem. Literary Theory: the Basics. Routledge, 2014.

Carole Stone, and Fawzia Afzal-Khan. “Gender, Race and Narrative Structure: A Reappraisal of Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness.’” Conradiana, vol. 29, no. 3, Oct. 1997, pp. 221–234. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.24635074&site=eds-live&scope=site.

H. C. Brashers. “Conrad, Marlow, and Gautama Buddha: On Structure and Theme in Heart of Darkness.” Conradiana, vol. 1, no. 3, July 1969, pp. 63–71. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/24641386.

Kim, Chang-hyun. “Interaction of the Realistic and the Mythic Structure in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” The Journal of English Language and Literature/Yǒngǒ Yǒngmunhak, vol. 48, no. 4, 2002, pp. 901–913. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mlf&AN=2002874600&site=eds-live&scope=site.

King Apologises for Belgium’s Bloody Colonial Rule of the Congo; The King Is a Direct Descendant of Leopold II, Whose Brutal Reign in the Congo Free State Inspired Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” The Telegraph Online, 30 June 2020. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsbig&AN=edsbig.A628144381&site=eds-live&scope=site.

An Introduction

Welcome to my journey! I have started and re-started this website time and time again, never truly committing to its continuity. Part of this is because I failed to settle on the direction I wished to go with blog posts. The other part, is something I believe many of you might resonate with–fear.

Like many writers out there, I suffer from a mild case of perfectionism. This manifests in many ways, but when it comes to this website, it has shown up in the form of a freeze response. I have avoided starting and finishing these pages for quite a while, feeling it too daunting of a task with too small of a reward to warrant my devoted attention for a second. Lo and behold, I tore off the bandage and within a few hours have a functional start!

I have wanted to create a journal for quite a while, and now is the ideal time as I have many transitions occurring within my life. I am learning at a rapid pace and wish to share those bits of writerly knowledge with you as I progress. I also wish to have a place to write out my goals, my dreams, my progress, and all of the bits of writing I have no intention of publishing.

I hope to show a true glimpse of my progress. It is difficult for me to allow that level of vulnerability. I have always worked in private, keeping my pieces in the dark, editing and re-writing over and over again–never quite feeling like it’s good enough. It’s time I let that habit go. So, here it is–this is where I am not where I will end.

As I reflect on this form of protection, I know where it comes from, and I am sure some of you out there will resonate with what I have to write. Throughout my journey, I have found my ambitions scorned as unrealistic and my successes dismissed and met with negativity due to jealousy. It’s rare to find someone truly in your corner and for that reason, I have chosen to hide. It’s safe.

My issue is not with criticism. Unfortunately, as a writer, that’s the first thing one needs to overcome. Rejection and failure are friends. Aside from fear of vulnerability, I have a difficult time letting go of my works. I am hoping that both my One Hundred Short Stories project and this journal will cure this issue. For example, I have two short stories I completed four years ago. Of course, my present day self is not happy with these pieces! So, instead of pushing them out and publishing them four years ago, they are currently sitting in a stack of short stories, and I am now working on a full re-structuring of them.

I am hoping this journal will provide me a space to acknowledge my mistakes within pieces and transform them into both a testament to my progress and a lesson for other writers. As for my One Hundred Short Stories project, I will write an entire blog post on that next, but the goal there is to focus on consistent production and publication from start to finish. I am hoping it will force my hand to get them past the drafting page and send them off into the world. I am hoping it will turn my focus from perfection to constant progress. After all, the worst that happens is I re-write the story later on in life. There is a level of detachment I hope to obtain from this process.

So, this is what I am doing here, but who am I? Who is C. A. Gabbard? The truth is–I don’t know, and it’s really not my business to care. I am lowkey obsessed with writing, to the chagrin of my parents. As of today, I am paying my bills working as the Chief Editor and Content Manager of an Indie Publishing House. I love it. I have seven years experience with freelance writing and editing. Most of my contracts involved ghostwriting 40k word to 60k word novels for publishing houses in four different countries. By the end of my ghostwriting stint, I was disciplined enough to produce one of these novels every month.

Remember how I said I was a perfectionist? Right, well, that comes with the lovely attribute of procrastination. “Haha. It’s not my best work because I wrote it an hour before the deadline.” That whole ego shield. Also, something I wish to eliminate with this whole “pulling the mask off” phase of my life. Either way, through the shadow of procrastination it has come to light that I can effectively write 11k words in a day and 3k words a day is a sustainable amount for me. I am grateful for the practice in endurance and stamina.

Currently, I am attending University to receive an English Literature degree. So, I wake up, I meditate, I workout, I work on my personal writing, I study, I work on editing and managing other writers\editors, I read or listen to audiobooks for the last couple hours until bed. If I take a break, it’s for a walk where I often have a book in my ear. My point is, that I eat, breathe, and dream writing. I am past the point of safety nets and concerning myself with weather the world will weight me as good or bad. I am here. Let me share with you.