It's recently been estimated that Americans spend $19.5 billion on Valentine's Day. Whether you go all in or prefer to recast the holiday as "Singles Awareness Day," people have been baring their heart and soul through love notes for centuries. In early America, as long as quill, ink, and paper were on hand -- one … Continue reading Will you be my 18th century Valentine?
"If I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something."Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015) Is there such a thing as a creative hangover? A creative drought, perhaps? These were the things rolling about in my mind as I sat down a few weeks ago to write -- … Continue reading Making space [for writing.]
This month I contributed my first byline to Salt magazine here in Wilmington, NC. Check out the full article on Flora MacDonald and crew at "Thistle Among the Pines: Flora MacDonald and the Highland Scots of the Cape Fear."
I am addicted to podcasts. Much like the earlier 2000s were the golden age of blogging, it seems that today we are living in a golden age of audio. Podcasts crept into my life very unassumingly. I can’t even name the first one I ever listened to. But like the Netflix-induced binging of television series … Continue reading Five on a Friday: Podcasts for a Varied Life
You may have noticed that things have been rather silent on the blog front lately. While not intentional, this silence has mostly been the by-product of a very busy year so far. So many good things are happening, but many of those things have needed lots of attention. After another packed teaching semester in the … Continue reading Hello from the other side … of summer research
In our digital age, the contagion metaphor is often part of the language we use regarding the exchange of information. The most popular videos go “viral” online. We share culturally-relevant "memes" via social media that spread like the common cold. But such metaphors are nothing new, especially when applied to migration. As medical knowledge developed in … Continue reading Emigration as Epidemic: Perspectives on the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Highlands
I am a reader. Since I was very young, I’ve had an affinity for libraries, for the smell of books, the crispness of their pages, and the music made by the words inside. As a historian, my career as a scholar compels me to read - both widely and deeply - in order to understand … Continue reading Reading early America (for fun!)