Over a decade ago (everything in my life is pre-kids or post kids and I know this was pre-kids, but, other than that, my personal chronology’s a bit sketchy), I wrapped up a transcription project of a well-known but relatively neglected early Tudor political manuscript. Then the kids came along, the project languished for lack of a really meaty introduction and analysis on my part and it survived in a shadowy way in the margins of my academic life, kept alive in a file folder and in a series of computer files copied from one PC to another and another and another.
Today, in answering a book rep’s email, I stopped and looked at his solicitation for works suitable for the undergraduate market and thought about ye olde project. I fired up the computer file, looking at the 25,000 words there with my sketchy introduction filled with commands to expand this, contextualize that and so forth. I pulled out the folder with printouts of the microfilm and my copious notes as well as a bunch of student comments from when I’d used the transcription in a senior seminar. I looked at all of this, thinking”Why the hell not?”, and asked him if that would be of any interest to the press.
Wish me luck! I’m proud of myself for not just hiding behind my still amorphous big book project which I know will take another eight months to whip into shape. That will still go on, but I realize that this other project might take shape a bit sooner.