Tag Archives: william-manchester

So Long? Farewell?

So Long? Farewell?




There is no doubt that history opens old wounds–but unfortunately history can no longer be buried. The Internet has become a vast and primarily free library with old newspaper archives documenting every little thing that has happened. Once upon a time history was clinical and you had to open a history book or go to a museum to get your facts.  With the right web site addresses or search strategies, I am prepared to argue that most people that lived and died, and any great tragedy that ever hit a community is publicly documented forever on ancestry.com or in a newspaper archive.


So what do I go through personally when I write every day? What feelings do I fight with on a daily basis? What makes me throw my hands up in the air and just want to walk away from my laptop some days?

Here are some examples:


Some people do not take what I write seriously as they feel I am not qualified because I have no formal degrees. There are also folks who also don’t like the way I write but —people no longer want to read clinical– they want a story, they want to be entertained, even in history. It’s a new world that some historians really don’t want to embrace, but are going to have too sooner than later.


Some say my blogs are popular only because local living ancestors want to see their names in print like the old newspaper social columns. While there is probably some hint of truth to that there is also an important factor. Without these names coming forward and offering their own personal stories community history would be impossible to document.


Some say I post tragedies for ‘cheap thrills’ or to quench people’s voyeurism which is also not true. While history is composed of good and bad I personally try very hard to keep a 50 year rule and not post anything negative from current frames of time. An example would be those that were concerned about my story of the Klu Klux Klan coming to Smiths Falls in 1926 and wanted it buried– but it happened. I am not posting about something that has not been documented in some shape or form in books and is also available online. I spend time researching to make sure notable stories are documented for today’s generations that really do not care about history–but they will some day. The bottom line is: accidents happened, loss of life happened, fires happened, and they are all part of our history whether we like it or not.


One of my good friends from the Bay area John Manchester summed it up for me a long time ago when I was having issues with negative comments on my political writings. John’s father was William Manchester who had written “The Death of a President” and he told me what his father had to go through to write his books. Everyone says they want to become a writer, but to be a real writer you have to dig in and write every single day and put up with lots of criticism and rejection. I am not writing about the Kennedys like he was, but I understand history generally teaches us how hard it is for anyone to control it, including the people who think they’re making it.  I don’t like everything I read, but understanding our past is important in helping us grapple meaningfully with our present.

You can’t change history, nor can you bury it, and ignoring the storms of the past will never let you see the rainbow at the end of the tunnel. History matters because of what people went through and it makes them nothing but heroes in my book. Today, once again for the umpteenth time I finally understand why I am spending the rest of my life documenting local history. As Confucius once said: ”Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.


So long
Auf wiedersehen

and yes, I will see you tomorrow





Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.



Why I will Never Write a Book like The Death of a President

The Day the Ku KIux Klan Came to Smiths Falls


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Why I will Never Write a Book like The Death of a President


Photo- John and Judy Manchester  in the Haight (San Francisco) that day with me in February


Written in 2012.. and missing my life and the people I once knew and will never forget.

It must be February because fellow writer Luminous Muse (John Manchester) and his Musette are back in the Bay area for their annual visit. The three of us get along so well that we were asked to leave a local sushi restaurant yesterday because they needed to close after the afternoon lunch. Last year I thought I knew everything I needed to know about John and Judy, but I didn’t. I came home after the delightful outing and told Steve that John’s father had written some sort of book about President Kennedy. Steve gave me one of his looks and asked me if I knew who his father was.
In the next five minutes I was told that John’s father was William Manchester who had written “The Death of a President”. The book was published in 1967 by Harper and Row and became one the great American Classics. Seeing that my likes consist of celebrities, Madonna, and Sweet Valley High I brushed it all off. All I knew was that the Muse and his Musette were great people and we could discuss the world of writing and the hamburger chain IN N’ Out Burger like Olympic champions.




William and John Manchester —Baltimore, 1954


Last week John wrote a blog about his father and how he spent 95% of his time locked away writing. For 15 hours a day, 7 days a week he conducted over 1000 interviews to write a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I read the blog three times, rolled my chair back, and started to think.

For the last six months my daily outings into the world have consisted of an 11 block walk to the Post Office and then back home to sit in front of my laptop the rest of the day. I will never be William Manchester, but I am very persistent in my goals. I begin at 7 am and sometimes finish around 8 pm. Let’s face it– I am almost 61 years old (65-2017) and time is of the essence if I want to get anything published.  I wondered if I too was becoming obsessed. Could a gal that grew up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and lives in rural Lanark County, Ontario ever make a difference?

Everyone says they want to become a writer, but to be a real writer you have to dig in and write every single day and put up with lots of criticism and rejection.  A month ago I hooked up with my literary doppelganger called Elizabeth C who owns the site Crabbygolightly (now closed 2017) which is simply pop news with a snap.

E.C., as she is fondly known is one smart cookie who has worked as a senior producer for Oprah, a reporter covering news, politics, trend stories and features for several daily newspapers and, most recently, for Time. Again friends thought I was nuts and over-extending myself– and why on earth would I want to write about celebrities?

I knew from the word go that Ms. Elizabeth was not going to put up with bad writing and I could learn how to write entertaining information in a short span of words. Writing for her is very similar to newspaper writing. Did I add more literary obsession to my day I asked myself? Was I going to end up going mad like Poe and end up writing about ravens?




Am I obsessed in my work ethic like William Manchester? Am I a writer now? Of course not; even with 6 published books– I will forever be a blogger and will never become even close to becoming a great writer like William Manchester– but I do know one thing. I have figured out that I can tell stories with my words just like the people that sat around the pickle barrel a long time ago and I am quite content with that.

John Manchester is a real writer and his words made a difference to me—and that my friends is what it is all about in the very end;  to be able to write well enough to make a difference in someone’s life.

Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Update 2017- Nothing has changed LOL

Related Reading

Lunch with Linda in the Haight- John Manchester


For What It’s Worth – Zoomers



An “Adventure” meeting my internet friends Mr. and Mrs. John Manchester in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco, California

For What It’s Worth – Zoomers.