Friday, January 22, 2010

Pretty Darn Cool

Back in 2004, when I was going to graduate school, I worked for Nebraska History magazine as a work-study, the journal of the Nebraska Historical Society. I loved the job and really wish that I could have got a job with them, but there were no openings.

So I did the next best thing. I submitted an article about the German POW Camp in Fort Robinson, Nebraska, during World War II (the topic of my graduate thesis) in hopes that it would be published. It was. And lo and behold, the unthinkable happened - I actually won an award for it. To say that I was incredibly humbled by this win is an understatement.

Now, the article has been published online in its entirety, and I'm feeling the excitement all over again. I'm also thinking that I really need to get organized and actually write the history of the camp since the curator of the Fort Robinson museum has no intentions of doing so (he told me he's "done" writing books), and also because he already has almost all the research done (he already went to the archives in D.C., etc.).

I am almost tempted to take it on, but writing a history book is an entirely different animal than writing a fiction book. For one thing, you don't get to make anything up! But on the other hand, you have the facts and information all laid out for you and you just have to put it together.

So, I'm not exactly sure what I'll do - but I'm thinking of perhaps looking into how much work I'd actually have to do, how much more research I'd have to gather, and what, if any, types of financial grants I could get for it (the historical society also offers these).

There's always been this pull for me between my fiction and my history, which is why I try to combine them and write historical fiction. But this particular topic holds a special place in my heart since I spent so much time on it for my graduate thesis. Maybe I need to pursue this further...but there's only so much time in the day, and the day job takes up MOST of that time.

So. What to do? Must ponder this one...


  1. Congratulations on your award and for the article being published online.

    To write that book would be a wonderful achievement. It's a shame we don't have more time to spend on the things we want to, instead of having to work the day jobs.

  2. Might be one of those messages that we get when we get out of the way and listen. Might be what you are supposed to do, girl!! Congrats on the opportunity and the award!! That's awesome.

  3. Not knowing much about World War II, I will read your article right away. Congrats for its publication online!

  4. Congrats on its internet publication!

    What an incredible opportunity, Melissa. From my outward perspective, it seems perfect. Pray! I know you'll consider and think, and I also know you'll be led to the right decision.

  5. Congrats on the award and the full published glory! I'm very happy for you! Whatever you decide, I'm behind you all the way.

  6. With your major, this seems like a perfect fit. (And hey, that degree helps with your platform, definitely!) I wrote a nf proposal last year and loved it, the formulaic approach, the research, the data. It is a different animal from fiction, and I found the change refreshing and challenging. I'd say research the oppty as much as possible, and take it if you can. Have fun!

  7. I am so impressed with you and your abilities the more I learn about you:) Way to go on the article! History and I were never close friends so I am always in awe of someone who can take it on that way!

  8. Congrats! That is such exciting news. No wonder you are thrilled!

  9. Melissa--What a wonderful article! I had no idea of this slice of history; it's a fascinating read. Whichever path you choose, it will be the right decision.


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