Lauren and I now match. It’s a little rediculous. My hair is just the tinyest bit longer, and it’s at the same color, as usual. Also, glasses.
Also, stress, as I work to finish a paper. I am writing (briefly I will tell you, as I should get back to it) about Ephraim Chambers and his Cyclopaedia, which if you have never heard of it (and I certainly had not before this project) was perhaps the first true English-language encyclopedia. It is extremely cool. Chambers adopts elaborate cross-references for one of the first recorded times, and reports back on the science of his day, using the Royal Academy as a primary source and thus creating a cross between a scientific dictionary and an encyclopedia. The more I learn about it the more excited I get, and I cannot believe that more has not been written about this thing. With a (somewhat cursory) literature review, I could not find any book-length studies, and only a handful of articles…
At any rate, the best part is that the UW has a copy in special collections, and so I got to handle the 1786 edition. Touching a book two hundred and twenty years old — and doing quite possibly original scholarship on it, for god’s sake — was pretty heady. Amazing how well those old things hold up; indestructable in pigskin and linen.
I should have been a historian. I am no good at the discipline of history as it is taught — memorizing dates and languages and what not — but I love primary source research, I love digging through libraries to see what turns up. This is my fourth major full-on historical primary source research project, and I loved them all. They are all probably publishable with revision, although one I did for a professor, and so that is not.
A lot of stuff I write is probably publishable, and I wonder what to do with it. I’d like to take a quarter — a summer, a year — off to just write things, finish manuscripts. Almost all nonfiction; plot creation has never been my strong suit, but I can weave a story out of documents and evidence. Well, hell, I may just get to do that if no place hires me. Sigh. I have already decided what I will keep myself busy with, in case of contigency a, b, c and a half; contigencies stand on contigencies like so many eggs balanced on end and L. and J. and I have already made a pact of not knowing what the hell is going on.
I’d like to go out dancing right now, find a nice* club like the place that B. used to take us to in L.A. I would like to go on an adventure. I would like to buy or borrow or steal a car and drive to Canada. I would like to go swimming somewhere off the coast (although not badly enough to get hypothermia). I want to dream of train rides and lattes and everything being alright, always. I’d like to write a book about encyclopedias and get it published; they’re the coolest things in the world and I can tell you why. I’d like to make jewelry again seriously. I’d like to read, read novels like nobody’s business, learn what it’s like to exercise again.
I’d like to live a little.
Back to Chambers. He lived, although not long enough to see the full impact of his work; hell, no one has seen the full impact of his work yet, because he started something that hasn’t ended yet. Anyway, I am enjoying myself; I’ve been working on this on and off for a few weeks, but today I have been working on it for about eight hours straight, with a break to walk home, and I’m still going pretty strong. I love writing stuff like this, when I get going. I love things I can sink my teeth into.
* means happy and accepting and with bouncy house music in this context, rather than any of the other possible meanings of nice.