I think there's something of a shit-disturber in me. It's just a polite shit-disturber. I love the thought of publishing something that could get people all in a tizzy. I simply adore the fact that people have built a tenuous house of cards to house the history of disability in the Middle Ages, and we are taking it gingerly apart, card by card. Eventually someone will give a lecture or publish a paper and the whole thing will come tumbling down. And people will be aghast at what we've done.
Then - then - we can start building a new house in earnest. Those of us in the little niche understand each other, but until we can definitively enact a paradigm shift we will just be that group of weirdos in the corner.
We'll know the house is tumbling when people outside the community start getting disturbed by what we write. We'll know the cards are all on the floor when people stop asking us "Why bother?"
But I think that's enough of that particular metaphor. I just love the challenge. I love seeing it happen, helping make it happen.
The library at York has been helpful with this, especially the Minster Old Library (pre-1800 books). I'm surprised anew each time I go looking for an obscure fifteenth century text and it pops up in the catalogue system. I just wish I could get some photocopies or even digital pics. But the spines are sometimes delicate and the photos mean licencing issues, so I look forward to many days of transcribing. (One of my current projects has 11 folios dedicated to the topic! ELEVEN!)
In unrelated news, I booked my Christmas flights today. I found a very good price and good dates, and you just can't beat that!