This is a short entry, of the non-academic anxiety variety, because it is so easy to write about my current worries than it is to write about something other people may actually care about.
First, about a pen: I write with fountain pens. The simple reason is that it’s more fun than mundane writing instruments. Thus it encourages writing long-hand. Writing regularly, and even when I don’t want to, is an essential adaptation for someone with my inconsistent memory.
Fountain pens are far from the norm these days and I was reminded of this last year, during some tutoring office time. A student was in, asking for some help about something or other, and she wanted to write some piece of advice down. She grabbed the pen nearest at hand which was that days fountain pen. She quickly realized that this was no ordinary pen and exclaimed, as she ineffectually manipulated the stylus in every possibly version of wrong, “wow, what’s up with this pen”? I took it away and gave her the mechanical pencil I had.
About a book: I have gotten a few obscure books through inter-library loan recently. The library staff are probably wondering what sort of research requires Skeletal Trauma: Identification of Injuries Resulting from Human Rights Abuse and Armed Conflict. E. H. Kimmerle and J. P. Baraybar eds. (New York: CRC Press, 2008). With chapters such as “Skeletal and Soft Tissue Injuries Resulting from a Grenade” and “Probable Machete Trauma from the Cambodian Killing Fields”, this is the kind of book you do not leisurely flip through.
About swords (in the general sense): My primary area of interest may be martial history and all that sword and shield stuff that goes along with it, nothing will kill your interest in this, as an academic, like this sort of community of enthusiasts. I am generalizing here, but with some reason.
Contrary to popular opinion, academics don’t have a problem with ‘popular’ history or the less scholarly areas of historical recreation. There is a streak of anti-intellectualism that goes the other way and I’m not looking forward to the day when these particular types find my work. And don’t feel compelled to actually read any of that last link. It’s just for the sake of example.