ECW 5: Meg Groeling


Writers and Historians, lend me your ears—and maybe your fingers.

There are times when you will have a harebrained idea that just begs to be researched and written up. You know it is silly. You know it isn’t even provable considering the sources you’ve found.

Here is my advice: just write it.

There will be a ton of topics that are serious, and rightly so. There will be topics you bleed for, and rightly so. But there are also topics that just make you laugh, and what usually happens is that your readers will laugh, as well, and they will remember. The stuff you sweated over, stayed with night after night to get “just right,” and source so impeccably—well, those are great. They will get a few hits, and maybe an “Atta Girl/Boy,” if you are lucky.

But when a gem like “War Chicken” wanders across your path, go for that, as well. Every year since I wrote it, the post has been read by many. The United Daughters of the Confederacy used it in a cookbook. Chris M. and I have discussed, “The chicken, the blog post, the t-shirt,” several times. It is a story that continues to have legs (beyond just the drumsticks!).

As much as I would love to be known for the work I have done so seriously, I have decided it is better to be remembered for something rather than nothing. Yeah–go for it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may we present “War Chicken“?

(Editor’s Note: “War Chicken,” which originally ran on February 20, 2012, perpetually remains one of ECW’s most popular posts of all time.)

4 Responses to ECW 5: Meg Groeling

  1. Meg:

    War Chicken is a funny story. But at least the part that relies on recollections of William Mack Lee might be just that: a story (or more accurately, a tall tale).

    CW blogger and historian Kevin Levin in a May 24 post raises questions about William Lee’s claims of being a servant of R.E. Lee. Referencing a book by historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Levin writes there is no independent evidence – other than William Lee’s own written recollections – that the purported servant was ever a slave of R.E. Lee’s, much less ever accompanied the general into the war.

    Besides the Stonewall Jackson problem, William Lee’s recollections contain several other historical inaccuracies, Levin quotes Pryor as writing.

    1. I did say the sources were not very reliable–I don’t trust much of anything written in dialect other than Uncle Remus–and don’t jump on me for that . . . yet. Still, it’s a funny story. I found out about Nellie from a science fiction/fantasy book about someone who was dreaming Lee’s dreams, so go figure!

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!