Time for a change

By Juliana Adelman

Autumn has always been my favorite season.  Where I come from in New England (see picture to the left) it is certainly the most spectacular season.  Even in Dublin there is a noticeable clarity to the air and a certain brightness that you don’t get any other time of year.  Perhaps it is because I can’t seem to get away from places of education, but I always think of autumn as the start of the year.  I tend to make my resolutions in September and not in January.  This year there have already been lots of changes (moving house and my son starting ‘big’ school) but I also feel the need for some changes of my own.  I thought I would share my autumn resolutions with Pue’s.  Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

1. Read more novels.  I don’t know about you, but I have an office full of nonfiction and a pile of nonfiction next to my bed.  Some of this is pleasure, most of it is work.  I am beginning to think that I have lost touch with story telling and good writing, which is sadly in scarce supply in many history books.  I am hoping fiction is the antidote.

2. No email or internet before noon. Just like everyone else, I use the internet to procrastinate on difficult tasks and it has got to stop!  It’s now either email or a coffee break, not both.

3. Engage more with visual sources. I tend to use pictures as illustrations.  They are pretty decorations that underscore a point I have already made.  I plan to read up a bit on art history and try to make more of my visuals.

4. Try a different kind of writing.  I suppose Pue’s is one outlet for this, but I am thinking of trying my hand at fiction.  I’m sure most historians think they have a historical novel in them.  I want to at least try to start writing mine down.  At the very least, I suspect it will help with my historical writing.

5. Learn French.  I have been working on this for awhile and am really looking forward to having enough proficiency to read some academic papers in French.  It is a long way off, but I can do a little most days.

6. Pay closer attention to how politics and ‘the budget’ are affecting resources I use.  Advocacy for libraries and archives is one way that historians can make themselves politically and socially relevant.  Even if all I do is write some letters, at least I’m not just complaining.

7. Make use of more heritage and cultural sites. Even within Dublin the number of places I haven’t visited is shocking.

I think seven is a good number for now!

7 Responses to “Time for a change”

  1. Tina Says:

    Wow, Juliana, that’s quite a list! Love the idea of fall as your resolution time, as I also always feel like there’s a fresh beginning come September. I could certainly take a leaf from your book on some of this – I definitely need to procrastinate less, practice my French more, and take advantage of some of the wonderful cultural resources we have here in Dublin but which, for a variety of reasons, I just don’t visit that much (if at all)!

  2. puesoccurrences Says:

    Well that’s a frightening list, and not in a way that reflects in any way on your ambitions, but for the fact that you’ve just listed, in numbers 1-4 and 6 all the things I’ve been thinking about for a long time would improve my own life. As for number 5 – learning French – I’ve at least been trying to live up to my own grandiose visions on that one – about a year ago I did a French course (great fun), but the beat way I’ve found to pick up on the language has been through reading stuff that I love. So that means asking my sister-in-law to bring back copies of newspapers from France and my wife being so great as to have bought me a subscription to ‘So Foot’, a magnificently written French football magazine recommended by a Pue’s reader a while back. It’s amazing how much Of a language can be absorbed through the simple act of actually *enjoying* what you read.

    But I feel you’ve definitely put me to shame on the rest of the list… Must get working on one of my own.


  3. Ida Milne Says:

    Learning more French seems to be a common thread here. After a conference in Rennes last month, I picked up a giant French dictionary, having found that some of the translations in my English-French dictionary were a little off.

    Kevin, I am wondering whether you have come across a French translation for ‘sick as a parrot’.

  4. Felix Larkin Says:

    Advocacy for libraries and archives – YES, very badly needed at this time. The “powers that be” in Ireland emphasis the place of the arts in our national recovery strategy, but seem to be blind to the equal importance of serious scholarship in the humanities.

  5. Juliana Says:

    @Felix. Couldn’t agree more. Lots of lip service to ‘knowledge economy’ and importance of tourism but little acknowledgment that the humanities are also knowledge or that Ireland’s achievements in arts are the draw for tourists.

    @Kevin. Great minds think alike? Or is there some kind of Pue’s brainwashing going on….Seriously, though, think you might right about the French. Maybe I ought to combine that with no. 1 and try some French novels. Although at present I am probably only at junior infant reading level. And I memorized Dr Seuss when I was a kid so that would just be cheating.


  6. Where did it all go wrong? History’s battle for souls « Pue's Occurrences Says:

    […] in Paris, Rome, Salamanca or London is a worthwhile exercise. And, having read number six in Juliana’s ‘new year’s’ resolutions last Thursday, I hold up my hands to say I’m guilty of not doing enough to help our cause. Yet as […]

  7. Burt Adelman Says:

    Walden Pond, try reading The Maine Woods

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