Tag Archives: advice

Going into the Last Week

inspirationAll this time has been a luxury that’s really hard to give up, but it’s really, really time.  Actually, last week was supposed to be “the end” but I haven’t quite made it to the finish line with my big project.  Luckily I still have two weeks before officially reporting for duty, so this week will be dedicated to swerving around those good-but-not-the-point things and focusing on the manuscript submission. I suppose this is not a unique feeling, the sense that I could easily spend another month, or year, polishing it, but also getting at the end of my rope, on my last nerve, and just slightly sick of it.  It’s got to go.

So with some excellent encouragement from Tom Hiddleston, here we go.  Today is not the time to stop, but Friday is.

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words of wisdom: Samuel Johnson

“A man will turn over half a library to make one book.”  Samuel Johnson, 1775.

johnsonHow sweet, Mr. Johnson, especially considering the size of the average library that you knew.  Now please consider multiple 20th/21st-century academic libraries, I-don’t-remember-how-many speciality archives and historical societies, and then the whole mass of GoogleBooks as that which has been “turned over.”  We need another metaphor.  More of a Bagger 288 than a garden spade, methinks.

I am at my footnotes and bibliography today, and it is making me swoon.  I don’t remember where I read all of these things, but several of them prompt really precise (or precise-ish) memories: reading building committee reports on an archivist’s desk in Philadelphia, riffling through a missionary’s diaries in the corner of a small university museum in Louisville. Or was it Richmond?  And just in terms of volume: how much more have I read about my architect’s time than did he read when he was in it?  Bagger 288 indeed.

portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca, 1775

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