Today, at a conference of the Esteemed and Admired, I read a paper from Meticulous Friend, who couldn’t in the end attend as planned.
It’s the kind of work I couldn’t do. It is detailed, accurate, meticulous and full of incidental detail that is the stuff of history. I was glad to read it, envious of the scholarship in it – and (I confess, shamefacedly!) grateful not to have written it. Not because in any way is it anything other than a good piece of work – but because the level of work, the attention to small ting (like dates!) and the depth of skill on providing the footnotes is something that while filling me with admiration, would make me so bored if I tried to do it – and inded, frustrated, because I would make such a mess of it.
I also had the chance to listen to various papers which were, each in their own way, memorable; one from Patient Colleague, one from Much Admired Former Colleague, one from The Man Who Speaks Faster Than Me, and several others. It has been a rich feast. My head is full of stuff. And I am reminded – and celebrating – again, the richness of revelling in other people’s gifts – an the generosity of other people in sharing them.
So, I am going to bed with my mind stretched, my ideas broadened, by knowledge deepened – and, once more, grateful that Meticulous Friend writes so many and such careful footnotes, I probably need never write another one, and there would still be enough in the world!