In Britain, there are buds on many trees, dusk is a little later each day, and birds have started singing the dawn chorus. The end of winter now seems a real possibility, and in White Writing Whiteness terms spring cleaning has started. Yes, the two working desks (escaping from the desk in my study and also taking over the dining room table) for the project have been tided and cleaned, papers have been sorted, neat piles of things have been assembled, and – the most convincing proof that something major is happening – lists, ‘to do’ lists, have been written and pinned up in a prominent position in my study!
One list concerns the writing projects from January to the end of July that I’ve agreed to do. This is fairly terrifying, and it has acted as a stark warning to me not to say yes to anything else for a while. It has eight things on it: a major plenary paper, two conference papers which together with a third (already done) will later make a journal article, two more journal articles, and three book chapters. Their topics? Two of them are concerned with analysing aspects of particular collections. Two of them are more general writings that are important for setting out background ideas and frameworks. The other four are concerned with furthering my contribution to epistolary theory, using WWW data and analysis to do so.
The other list concerns completing work on letter collections and despatching these to be integrated within the WWW website which will be launched probably in early April. To enable this, a programme of ‘cleaning’ and ‘finalising’ collections that have been worked on in a number of archives and a larger number of collections has been embarked on. As a result, in the last three weeks eleven new collections databases have been completed and are ready to deliver to HRI at the University of Sheffield. Names such as Aiken, Ayliff, Southey, Moffat, Price, Rhodes, Schreiner-Hemming, Pringle, LMS Matabeleland and others resound in my ears. Seven or eight more collections databases have already been delivered to HRI. And another six or seven are waiting in the wings, some of them huge ones (like the LMS missionary letters) that will be completed and delivered in tranches, some of them smaller ones that Emilia and I will complete in the next few weeks.
Lots to do, then, and not much time to do it. This is white knuckle project completion, and in its own way is quite exciting!
Last updated: 26 January 2017