A.J.'s Essays

a.j. smuskiewicz 91317-2
Welcome to the online writing space of A.J. Smuskiewicz, a freelance writer and editor who lives in the Chicago area. This is the place where A.J. writes about whatever he finds of interest. Hopefully, you too may find some of these posts interesting.

Contact A.J. at: AJAmerica2017@yahoo.com 

The 1920s – Birth of the Sexual Revolution and Modern Era

March 3, 2019 —   The 1920s were a fascinating time in American history. It was an era of social liberation, especially for women, that many Americans today are not aware of. It was when the Sexual Revolution began—before retreating back into the closet, and later reemerging.   Most people today probably think that women’s lib originated in the 1960s. However, 40 years before...

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Addiction, Depression, Insanity, Peace

January 17, 2019 —     For many people, life seems to amount to little more than a constant struggle with personal problems. Some of these problems are imposed on people from the outside (other people or external situations), other problems are generated by the individuals themselves, and still other problems arise from internal biochemical mechanisms beyond the individuals' control.   The most horrific...

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It's the year 2040 in what used to be the United States

January 2, 2019 —     How will we end up in our old age? Here is a speculative and satiric vision I had of my own old age, written when I was 58, as 2018 drew to a close and 2019 began. I was feeling rather pessimistic about the current condition of things in the United States, probably because I was paying too...

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Thoughts on death, afterlife, god, and logic

December 19, 2018 —   Humans have probably been wondering about the existence of some kind of god ever since the first members of the Homo genus walked upon Earth more than 1 million years ago. It is natural for a large-brained, cognitive species to look out at the world and the sky above and wonder… where did it all come from?, how far does...

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Horror and sex in movies, circa 1960

June 20, 2018 —   My favorite genre of fiction literature and motion pictures has always been horror. From Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories to Anne Rice’s novels, and from F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu to Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, I am immensely entertained by tales of horror. I am not sure why. I can’t say that I am frightened by such stories, because...

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The use of swearing and vulgarity in language

June 6, 2018 —   I believe that most thinking people would have to agree that the culture of the United States is greatly coarsened today, compared with just a few decades ago. This is most obviously represented by the ubiquitous swearing and vulgarity that one encounters in the media outlets of television, radio, and the Internet. This public vulgarity is seemingly widely accepted...

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How an "outlaw" named Waylon influenced my life

June 16, 2017 —   As far back as I can remember, I've always been an independent thinker—a rejecter of group-think—and this has resulted in perpetual feelings of being an outsider. Even in kindergarten, I was aware of thinking and doing things differently, compared with most of the other kids. I was made aware of these differences when the other kids made fun of...

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Do you have to believe what you write or edit?

May 25, 2017 —   I'm known among my acquaintances as someone who is blunt, outspoken, and honest—sometimes brutally so. I'm a firm believer in good communication, and communication generally needs to be clear, straightforward, and honest to be good, useful, and effective. Plus, I simply have a natural, raw blunt streak that I inherited from my mother, and this has sometimes worked for...

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An editor with an artistic personality and a logical bent

March 25, 2017 — Since I was a little kid, I've known how to draw. I mainly enjoy drawing pictures of people and animals. My relatives and friends used to tell me that I should become an artist. So when it came time to enroll in college in the late 1970s, my original choice for a major was art. For practical reasons, I later...

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Points I keep in mind while editing

February 8, 2017 — My first two editing jobs were at encyclopedia publishers—Standard Education Corporation, where I began to work in 1993, and World Book Publishing, where I worked from 1997 to 2003. I subsequently did freelance work for World Book for many additional years. Educational writing and editing require a strict adherence to verified facts combined with an ability to present those facts...

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How I became a writer

February 1, 2017 — I never had any intention of becoming a writer. Because I could always draw well, I originally wanted to become an artist. By the time I got to college in 1979, I had turned that natural talent into the more practical goal of pursuing a degree in communications design (graphic design). I grew bored with that after two years, and...

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