Discovering Albert #1: Meet Albert
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Ok so tonight I started something that has taken me a couple of years to commit to. I've dipped in and out of doing research and writing drafts but since tour is done and I've got to do something with my free time instead of playing retro video games and rewatching bad rom-coms I'm going to write the story of my truly amazing ancestor Albert Cashier. Albert was a trans-man who fled Ireland as a teenager towards the end of the Famine and fought in the American Civil War for the Union. I sat down tonight to compile all the scattered bits of resources I have dotted around my computer. It's overwhelming. There's so much I need to get my head around and I've never attempted to write anything like this before. I've also seen there was a musical in 2017 in Chicago and since then there's loads of fan-accounts and articles. It's inspiring to see Albert's story affect so many people, but makes me worried about what I can contribute. I've a lot of work ahead of me and a world I know little about to immerse myself in. If anyone here has ever heard about this story or know and resources that might help, I'm all ears. If you haven't heard the story, Google it. It's fascinating, timely and I feel a deep connection to elements of Albert's story but I guess, having seen how much other people are invested in it: it's not 'my story to tell', it never was to be fair, but now I'm so much more aware of how much 'other people's story' it's become. I'm also really keen for any resources or strategies people have for writing in-depth historical work, building timelines, getting to understand contexts (especially Civil War America) etc or just general things that might help a writer trying something new out. I'm usually not very chatty on social media apart from promoting stuff, which I guess just feeds into why most of us dislike it, and I don't often talk about what I'm working in until it's done but I don't think I can / want to do that with this story. It's feels inherently more collaborative and open, allowing lots of perspectives to feed into it. By the title of this post you might guess that I'm hoping to post about this regularly.