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!