By Juliana Adelman
It’s hard to believe that this little project we started is now two years old. In celebration we thought we would share a view from ‘behind the scenes’. Throughout the next few weeks we will each post on our experience of writing for Pue’s and at the end of the month we are going to give a list of the most read Pue’s posts and the strangest search terms that have brought people to the site. We hope you enjoy it!
I should start by admitting that I have repeatedly wondered if I should keep doing this blog at all or simply pass the baton to a more willing and able newbie. Do I really have anything interesting to say? Should I be devoting my precious ‘spare’ time to writing 600 words on why a horse is not a car (or soon to come: how cattle plague is like cholera! I bet you can hardly wait)? Then I remember that this blog at least serves the purpose of keeping my dad informed of what I do and I probably owe him at least that after the investment he made in my education. Aside from filial responsibility, however, I get a lot out of writing for Pue’s. One of the most important things I have gotten is company. As we all know, conferences are abundant yet often very specialized and they are rarely attended by anyone outside of academia. Pue’s serves as a kind of ephemeral office water cooler in the building marked ‘Irish history’ at which we can all loiter around and chat in our own time. In fact, perhaps the village water pump would be a more apt description. I like that some posts are clearly only of interest to a few people and that other posts get passed around to a huge audience outside of history because they relate to more general concerns.
Although Pue’s would be nothing without its readers, many of whom are also its writers, the thing that really keeps me going is working with my fellow editors: Kevin, Lisa and Tina (that’s in alphabetical order). Everyone has experienced the dreaded group project: each disagrees about how to proceed with the end result that most become disengaged and one person does all the work. Pue’s Occurrences may be one of the few collaborations I have been involved in that could be properly called a collaboration. The blog is much, much better for being run by four people. We build on one another’s ideas and the sum is truly greater than the parts. Pue’s has allowed for the kind of creativity and spontaneity that are, sadly, not a large part of doing academic history. Perhaps they become more so as you reach the upper echelons of the university system and get to brainstorm new research projects or courses with colleagues. But down here in the trenches we tend to toil alone so I always look forward to a Pue’s editorial meeting because I know it will refresh my spirits and enthusiasm.
Finally, the reason that I can’t give up Pue’s is that it feels like a breathing space. It’s a space to complain (I hope not too often), a space to hypothesize and a space to be wrong. Everyone needs that kind of space. I hope that in the years to come Pue’s can continue to be a space that anyone interested in Irish history, or indeed history in general, will enjoy. Thank you for your support so far!