I happen to very much dislike it when a writer of history fails to include dates in their content. This is becoming a growing peeve of mine. So let me pretend right now, you're going to write something that happened back in the day.

Friend, what you must understand is when you write, at the time of your writing, what you write is for you. But when you are finished, if it goes public, it's mine too. I'm going to look at the words and get to know them inside my head. If it's good, I might even give you compliments you'll never hear. This is the way writing works. Once it's outside of you, I'm going to bring it inside of me- the page is the coldest part of the chain, but it's the writer's way.

And you may not know it just yet, but when you write, and learn to love to write, you are silently including yourself in a legacy that multiplies inside you as fast as the wisdom it gives. At first you may like it, but one day you might come to love it so dear as to perhaps protect it more than your life. And history is very important- it is the invisible velvet your eyes run across. It's a half destroyed velvet, a texture that bumps, scratches, and disappears from feel at times. Those holes in the fabric are holes in yourself- holes in the way you understand what was given to you, and taken.

When you read more, you begin to find wonderful times. You're going to think them very special at first for a couple of reasons, but later in your life for very many reasons. Eventually you'll stop seeing the dates as numbers, but resolutions of the planet that have grown things you know, and have yet to find.

They'll fill up in you. You'll redraw your vision of the past, carefully. It'll be one of your greatest accomplishments of mental architecture. Every brick, wire, rope, dust and thought. The dates will bring them in. The dates will connect all the stories; le Voyage Au Bout de la Nuit with W.E.B. Dubois's rise as Leadbelly leaves jail on a song. Walt Whitman will write as Stonewall Jackson is shot. The dates will bring them together from one story to another. You'll read about bootlegging, remember Gershwin composed pieces our speakeasies played. The dates will bring them in. Four numbers together, right now, and for a long, long time, will tell us very much.

For you now, and for us later. Always find the date.

Note: this writeup is about my discontent with historical writings/writeups which fail to include enough dates, or any dates at all. It is not about asking writers to post the time of their writeup was put on E2.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.