Freelance Writer’s Almanac – January 2014

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Happy New Year!

Welcome to the first post in the Freelance Writer’s Almanac series.

Today we start a new year. It’s interesting to look back and see what happened 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago with a view to remembering, reflecting on, and perhaps writing about these things.

Of course if you choose to write about any of these subjects, you’ll need to give it your own angle.  I have linked a few resources, but to do a proper job, you’ll need to sleuth out more info. Also double-check all dates, because even as I put this together, I found date discrepancies in my sources.

2014 is the anniversary of the following big events:

100-year anniversary (1914)

  • The beginning of World War I
  • Woodrow Wilson signed a Mother’s Day proclamation.
  • The Panama Canal was opened.

75-year anniversary (1939)

  • The beginning of World War II
  • John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was published.

50-year anniversary (1964)

  • This was the year of Beatlemania. The Beatles began their U.S. tour by appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in February.
  • A powerful 9.2 earthquake hit Anchorage Alaska.

25-year anniversary (1989)

  • The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling millions of gallons of crude oil.
  • Chinese students protested and were massacred in Tianamen Square.
  • The Berlin Wall was opened to the West after 28 years.

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Carnation - flower of JanuaryThe flowers of January are the Carnation and the Snowdrop

Garnet - the birthstone of JanuaryThe birthstone of  January is Garnet. It means Constancy.

Here are some things that happened in January throughout history. I chose events  and facts that interest me in the areas of history, the arts, faith, science, food, Canadiana and other cool things. But of course these just skim the surface. There are more links to check out at the bottom of the post.

January

1

  • New Moon

2

3

  • On this day in 1745 at the age of 27, David Brainerd committed himself to reach the Indian tribes of Colonial America with the gospel of Christ. He died two years later but lives on in The Diary of David Brainerd pdf file (published by Jonathan Edwards) TCA p. 17.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien Day. Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892.

4

  • World Braille Day – 205 years ago today Louis Braille was born in Coupvray France (1809). He himself was blind from age three.

6

  • National Weigh-In Day (always the first Monday after New Years)

7

8

  • Earth’s Rotation Day. “On 8 January 1851, using a device known as Foucault’s pendulum, Frenchman Léon Foucault demonstrated that the Earth rotates on its axis.”  Read entire article

11

  • On this day in 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson received the first insulin injection to help regulate his diabetes. Canadian scientists Banting and Best had isolated the hormone the year before – TCA, p. 33.

12

  • Today is the birthday of Jack London (born John Griffith Chaney in 1876). He wrote books about adventure and courage like White Fang and Call of the Wild (two books I loved as a kid). He said: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

13

  • Stephen Foster Day. Stephen Foster, musician and song-writer (“O Susanna,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Old Folks at Home” and many others) is sometimes called the Father of American Music.  This year is the 150-year anniversary of his death (January 13, 1864).

14

  • How cold is it? On this day in 1733 Yeneseisk, Siberia recorded a temperature of −120 F. The air was so frigid that birds dropped frozen to the ground and smoke couldn’t rise – TCA, p. 39.

15

  • The first Super Bowl game was played on this day in 1967.

16

  • Full Moon
  • Religious Freedom Day. The Ordinance of Religious Freedom passed the Virginia Legislature on this day in 1786 (TCA p. 42).

17

  • U.S., British, and Saudi air raids on Iraq started the Gulf War in 1991.

18

  • Winnie the Pooh Day – A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh and other children’s books was born on this day in 1882. He said: “Almost anyone can be an author; the difficult business is to actually collect money from this state of being” – TCA p. 47.
  • Thesaurus Day – Peter Mark Roget was born on this day in 1779. His claim to fame was the 1852  publication of the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Roget’s Thesaurus).

19

  • French painter Paul Cezanne was born on this day (in Aix-en-Provence, 175 years ago, in 1839).

20

  • 81-year-old Myles Coverdale died on this day in 1569. In 1535 he printed the first complete  English Bible, called the Coverdale Bible.

21

  • The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast its first programming from London to the world on this day in 1929 – TCA p. 53.

22

  • The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade, legalizing abortion from the moment of conception until just before the moment of birth, was rendered on this day in 1973 – TCA, p. 54.

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24

  • The Russian city St. Petersburg was renamed Leningrad on this day in 1924. After the fall of communism, it was renamed St. Petersburg.
  • Sir Winston Churchill died on this day in 1965 at the age of 90.

25

  • Robbie Burns Day – Robert Burns, the Scottish National Poet, was born on this day in 1759.
  • On this day in 1915 Alexander Graham Bell inaugurated transcontinental telephone service.
  • This day is the 90th Anniversary of the beginning of the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, 1924.

26

27

  • The Soviet Red Army liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz on this day in 1945.

28

  • I make a birthday cake for someone special at my house on this day!

29

30

  • New Moon
  • On this day in 1939 Adolf Hitler called for the extermination of European Jews.

31

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Sources and links to check out for more days:

Freelance Writer’s Almanac – coming soon!

6 Comments

Anyone who has written freelance knows that wonderful writing isn’t the only thing our piece needs to get accepted. It also needs to be timely. Write and submit an article about C. S. Lewis in 2014 and chances are editors will reject it, whereas they may well have accepted it in 2013. Why? Because 2013 was the 50-year anniversary of Mr. Lewis’s  death (in November of 1963). You may have noticed the large number of articles about C. S. Lewis floating around in 2013, and the anniversary is why!

In order to write timely articles like that we need to be alert to what’s coming up in the birthday and anniversary department as well as the annual holidays that repeat year after year. Of course it’s also feels good to be in-the-know about fun facts like when it’s National Pie Day or Poem In Your Pocket Day.

I’ve been planning for a while to prepare a list of upcoming dates for myself. One day it hit me. If I could use such a list, probably other freelancers could as well. And so I’ve decided to start a new blog feature.

On or around the first day of each month, I’ll be posting a Freelance Writer’s Almanac  piece, listing the holidays and special days of the month we’re entering. This will be eclectic and include information about history, the arts, faith, science, food, Canadiana, and anything else I find interesting.  (This post will replace the monthly writing prompt of 2013).

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So if you need timely ideas of things to write about in blog posts, articles, even books, come back January 1st for the first installment of Freelance Writer’s Almanac.