What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been is the name of a compilation album by the Grateful Dead released a dozen years after the band formed. It’s been twelve years since I began writing, and while it’s definitely been less psychedelic than Jerry Garcia’s jam band, the evolution may seem strange.
I’m explaining why I haven’t blogged in months, and won’t be again for some time.
My writing has evolved from fitness to motivation to social justice. I’ve written extensively for publications such as the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, TIME Magazine, the Guardian, and many others. I’ve also published two books with major publishing houses.
Now, I’m writing about history. Why history? Well, on April 18th I was on a bike ride. May latest book is titled The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant and is about the science of the life-changing epiphany. It was during that bike ride that I had one of those epiphanies.
It popped into my head to write an “on this day” history piece. For those who don’t know, I have a master’s degree in military history. My 1996 thesis was about CIA intervention in Latin America. I had wanted to do a PhD and become a history professor, but I gave that idea up for love. It can be a nomadic life seeking a tenured position, and I couldn’t ask my physician wife to continuously uproot a practice. Anyway, I was instantly excited about this idea and raced home. I googled events for the following day, April 19th, chose a story about Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms, wrote a sarcastic and profanity-filled analysis, and posted it to my Facebook page the following morning.
It was pretty popular, so I wrote another for the following day about Mae West being sentenced to prison for “corrupting the morals of youth,” and that one blew up. On that day I committed to writing an entire year’s worth. In the first month, it had over a million views and almost two hundred thousand Facebook interactions. In the fourth month there were almost 1.9 million views and 330,000 interactions.
So I’m going to keep doing that for a while. Hell, there are so many good stories to write about there is a strong possibility I’ll do two years’ worth. Eventually, these will be made into a book or calendar or something.
If you want to read a new one each day, follow my Facebook page.
If you’d like a sample of some of the other pieces from the last few months that I’m fond of, here you go:
April 24: Annie Oakley joins the Wild West Show
April 28: Muhammad Ali refuses the draft
May 4: Kent State Massacre
June 16: The state murder of George Stinney
July 13: The Live Aid fiasco
August 2: The revenge of Jeanne de Clisson
August 7: The blocking of thalidomide