Tag Archives: writing

Blogging

So.. the development officer at Mills Archive is keen to expand their internet presence by making their blog more active and keeping their social media accounts active.
As such she has asked me to write a few pieces and ideally to do so regularly.

Two thoughts occur to me: 1st – What on earth should I write about & 2nd – will this get me back into the habit of researching and writing regularly albeit in short bursts.

1: Broadly speaking I mostly input the details of books onto a pre-written form and then put the books onto shelves. I enjoy it but there is a limit to how exciting you can make it sound. Similarly, although I have been working on creating a classification system I don’t have any idea whether anyone else is interested in why I think some books should be considered similar to others – though I think at some point I will try and explain it…
This means that I need to come up with something else about the library that interests me and deserves a mention and that means looking at it from the perspective of ‘collections’. Two types of collection seem to be key – books donated by particular Mill experts (especially those that are legacies connected to archival collections) and books focused around particular specialist topics – so my next step is to pick 2 or 3 of these to write about and then do a little research around the topic.

2: For various reasons I have not been able to concentrate on writing for a while and I think my brain is turning to mush. Producing short (c.500-800 word) summaries on some things I know very little about has got to be good for my self-discipline right?
The plan is to combine writing 1 blog post a fortnight with reading 3 academic (peer-reviewed and within my research fields) journal articles and writing notes on them in the same time-period. Hopefully, this will get me back to thinking in a more academic mode and therefore able to write some of my research ideas down in something that looks more like a coherent paper itself…

And its that life thing again..

So yeah..
I’ve been keeping you hanging on again, but um… tough. Sorry to fail miserably but I’ve been working hard at the job that buys the food and I’ve been suffering with a lot of pain and the ongoing fight with my depression.

Still its a new year and I have plans.

  • Blog – 3 more SFF posts (1 on the final panel, 1 on some theoretical issues incl. Nick Lowe’s plenary & 1 on the panel I was in and my thoughts & plans…). Furthermore I will write at least once a fortnight.
  • Job… I have applied for a couple of things this year so far and I am determined that I will end the year doing something different to now
  • Publishing – 2 articles that I started last year will be submitted! Partly I need to get over the perfectionism that keeps me re-editing but also I need to be brave enough to approach people to give me advice.

Wish me luck and strength

The Phoenicians and Me

I am currently re-writing part of my thesis – specifically I am trying to tease out some examples of Cornish historians who write about Phoenicians and justify their work with classical texts and trying to make some observations on trends and possible reasons for them.

It wasn’t a big part of my thesis per se since what I wanted to focus on was the role of the more traditional Greek and Roman classical civilisations on historiography. Nonetheless not only is it impossible to talk about the ancient Cornish tin trade without talking about the Phoenician myth but it turns out that one of the key uses for classical texts in building the historiography of Cornwall is “proving” that the Phoenicians came to Cornwall.
The Classical reception scholar in me is fascinated by the way that not only do the ancient works form the basis and framework for historical research but also how quickly they become cheap acontextual citations to make a point and how important the phraseology of a translation can turn out to be for the non-specialist. But…
…that is what part of the thesis was about not what the article is supposed to say.

I want to point out that there are patterns for discussing the topic and that they show us some of the key concerns of the historians involved.
Specifically, the writers always use Strabo’s description of the Cassiterides and the Phoenicians at 3.5.11 (but never mention 3.2.9 or any of his writing about Britain) and usually conflate this account with Diodorus on Belerion (5.22.1-2) . The writers also seem to regularly get entangled in issues surrounding the possible dating for the trade and exact locations for parts of the route. Even more importantly it is clear that the Phoenicians form a kind of shorthand for understanding the development of Cornish civilisation and technology.

The Cornish writers attribute improvements in the process of mining, the design of hill-forts and parts of the language to the interactions between the Cornish and the Phoenicians. This allows the writers to suggest that certain important  parts of Cornish culture had developed well before the Roman invasion and therefore that these Celts were somehow different to Caesar’s savage Britons. Like a number of historical writers of the period the writers tend to focus on the cultural legacy passed from the classical peoples to the natives rather than the existence or role of artefacts (rather handily when they are somewhat absent as in this case). In the texts that I have looked at there are some wild conjectures about the activities of the Phoenicians in Cornwall as well as more measured hypotheses but almost all of them are keen to describe the interactions as positive for the Cornish. I believe that in this way they  took their own ideas about the important parts of Cornish history and framed them into a local mythos.

Now I just need to find a way to argue that as a convincing conclusion before the end of the month.
(more SFF soon. honest.)

Works-in-Progress

I think I am busy trying to write too many things at once..

I have two main projects:
1. Research and organisation for a paper on Time-Travel and Roman Britain to be delivered at the end of June and hopefully to turn into a journal article…
2. Editing and splicing parts of my Thesis to make an acceptable publication.

I am also currently working on some informational blog posts for the Ure Museum which touch on Greek Archaeology and Art History and I should be writing research proposal/job applications to get me into regular paid employment.

My key problem is dividing my time and practicising focusing on one task at a time. So I want to use the process of putting ideas online to help me pin down specific tasks.
Right now I need to spend at least 2hours a day working on the thesis based article and to read one or two journal articles/chapters for the Time-travel paper.
This weekend I am also going to write a beautifully optimistic research proposal.