Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've been trying to come up with a blog post about the ways that my research cracks me up. I mean, it's really funny stuff. I could go on for hours about why I think it's crucial to our understanding of the period or why understanding it could have an impact on culture today. But seriously, I keep going back to it because it makes me laugh.

Of course, the problem is that I can't really write that blog post without also writing about my research, and that brings me nose up to the brick wall between my world and this blog. Sometimes I feel like I'm lying on top of that wall, naked and exposed for all to see. But more often, I feel like I'm throwing missives over the wall and hoping they come down on the other side in half the condition they left. I hope the trip hasn't altered them too terribly. I'm often so excited and honored by the very smart people who read and comment on my blog, and I very much want to offer them something of myself, unmasked, in return. It seems absurd I can't even offer my name.

Perhaps, though, it's the mask that makes all of this possible. Perhaps I would never toss these messages out to all of you if I thought you'd know who sent them. Perhaps what I call prudence is really possibility. Perhaps having such a wall on one side allows me to demolish other barriers that are in place in my every day life.

I don't know. What I do know is that my research is making me laugh this week, and I want to say something here about the way that is rejuvenating and reassuring. I don't just mean that it often takes me out of myself and out of the seriousness of the moment. I also mean that I often know I'm on the right research track when something amuses me. My project is actually based on a foundation in which I knew my sources should be examined together because they all cracked me up in exactly the same way. (Yeah, that was hard to explain at the proposal defense.) Every time I giggle inappropriately in the reading room, I know I was right about that. I know it's going to work out. But it's just not amusing in the abstract. You'll have to trust me.


Blogger The History Enthusiast said...

I totally understand how you feel...sometimes having a pseudo-anonymous blog sucks!

7:50 AM  
Blogger Jarod said...

Nothing wrong with protecting yourself with a blog/real life barrier. In fact it's probably a good idea in most cases (I don't because the stalkers would show up at my house, get bored and leave).

9:19 AM  
Blogger wwwmama said...

I know how you feel too. I think I err on the side of too much information and it makes me nervous sometimes. I feel like I'm waiting in some way for someone to come up to me at a conference and say "hey, are you wwwmama?" And I'll go "NOOOOOOOO but YESSSSSS" and run screaming to a computer to edit all my personal confessions.

Tee hee hee. It's sort of like how I just know that one day I'll run into a sexy ex-boyfriend when I'm completely disheveled and fat.

Anyway, my research is the opposite. Sad and not a laugh anywhere.

9:57 AM  
Blogger k8 said...

I don't have that much of a barrier - anyone could find out my whole name with a tiny bit of research - but one way I talk about what I'm doing without talking about the specifics is to discuss the somewhat tangential issues/items I find. That way, I at least avoid putting my "data" out there for everyone to see before I've had a chance to finish working on it.

5:43 PM  

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