A hole in a manuscript page shows the page below it.

Something Missing…

You know what I don’t seem to talk about much on my blog, which I’ve titled “The Digital Medieval”?

No, no…if you look at the archives, I talk about digital crap all the time.

What I don’t talk about nearly enough is medieval stuff, and there’s a reason for that. I’m not saying it’s a good reason, but it’s certainly the driving force. See, like most of my colleagues, I suffer from a lot of pretty debilitating mental health issues. In fact, Inside Higher Ed ran a piece last week that calls grad student mental health a “Crisis,” and absolutely not one person I’ve talked to about it is surprised. The most truth I ever got out of the adviser for my Master’s degree was when he told me that academics all have a screwed up sense of self. For me, among the other little things, is one giant issue that I’ve been trying to deal with in my own way for years: impostor syndrome.

It’s a B.M.O.C. (Big Malady on Campus), all right. I attended a little workshop put on by the Grad Resource Center last week and there were several people there, despite the fact that it was the week before spring break and every single person there looked like he or she had a million other things to do. Now, to be fair, these brief sessions do little besides raise awareness to the subject, and that’s certainly something that deserves to be talked about more, so I’m glad they put on that shindig. Unfortunately, since I’ve been at this a while, the only thing I got out of it was additional faces and some names to put on my list of people who are like me. That’s certainly not nothing; a nice, long list is a very clear and effective reminder that I’m not alone. Still, I always hope for that one coping strategy to show up and hit me like a fastball to the batting helmet, changing everything I do.

Bad news: I don’t really ever get close to people playing baseball these days. That, and I struck out at tee ball when I was a kid.

Regardless, I tend to think that what I have to say isn’t really all that important when it comes to medieval stuff, but I should start rethinking that. I’ve spent the last seven years learning all these things, and now I’ve been allowed into the inner sanctum of some of the most important libraries that hold Old English Manuscripts in the world. I do have some credentials, even if I’m not the most senior of all scholars on the subject. I have some things to say. I should say them.

The other issue here, of course, is that I don’t want to say things that will end up in the diss. I need to make sure that I retain all the things I need to retain for original publishing later if that’s what I want to do with myself. As such, my thoughts, which are mostly diss thoughts if they’re medieval anymore, aren’t really what I want to put on a blog.

That should end, too, though, because although most of what I think about with regards to medieval studies is related to my dissertation, not all of it is. For instance, I can share thoughts about what we can do as Americans to gain some experience with medieval manuscripts. I can share my experiences doing the same. I can even talk about what we should be doing to encourage the study of the middle ages in our freshman comp classes and our secondary schools. I can even talk about medievalisms that I find amusing or annoying and why they have that affect on me.

Thus, I think I’m going to try something new around here: Medieval Mondays. I want to be better about publishing on a schedule, right? I want to get over my crushing sense of self-doubt and personal inadequacy?

Cool. Let’s do this thing then.

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