This morning, I got on an airplane and took a nearly two-hour flight to use an archives. I am currently settled in a local hotel organizing my notes and contemplating some grading that I really need to do. I am about to spend two days at the Mercy Heritage Center and explore some files I hope will help me write a paper I will give next April. Suddenly, after a couple years of not having something to research, here I am.
Is it like starting over or starting again? The subject of my paper has to do with the Sisters of Mercy – not new – but it is in an area I haven’t really explored before – so new.
When the Mercy book was finally published, I had to start thinking about what the next project would be. (This isn’t the first time I have thought about this.) I am not in a solid work place. (By solid, I mean a contract more than a year or tenure-track. Fine – whatever – making due.) But what this means is that I have to figure out how to be engaged with scholarship while making it affordable. And fit into my schedule. (I don’t claim that I am the only person in the known world to have such things to consider.)
And I would really like to write another book. I think I have another one in me. It’s either that or write a historical murder mystery involving crime-solving nuns.
I have lists of projects or potential projects and this is the first time one of those items moved from the “potential” phase. I used a call-for-papers for a conference at the Cushwa Center to help propel me back into research mode. (Since my paper was accepted, I have to write it. Funny that. That said, a paper proposal is a very good way of kicking oneself in one’s posterior.) One reason this trip is at all possible is that I get a little research funding in my current position. Without it, I would have to fund my plane, hotel, car rental, food, and photocopies out of my own pocket. This is not cheap.
So, I got on a plane and here I am. Ready to get started. New leaves are turning over. Horses are being climbed onto again. Bikes are being ridden again. Maybe I’ll even go to the gym again and get in shape. New day.