Thank you, Mr. Carnegie.


Stress cracks began forming in my brain around 3:00 yesterday. By 4:00 I was running around screaming bloody murder, snatching myself bald, making the dogs' hair bristle. That's when I looked in the mirror and took the photo above. I'm thinking I should really consider doing something about all that facial oil.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is I've changed research paper topics yet again. What I was trying to do - reading over 2,000 slave narratives then put them into the context of the Depression era in which they were collected - wasn't, I realized, something you do in the space of five to seven pages. That's more like a Ken Burns television special, not a short term paper.

So what am I doing instead? Something much more suited to a short paper. I'm writing a study of the Carnegie libraries in Illinois which are on the Illinois Historic Registry. A bit less flair than writing about slave narratives? Definitely. But also, less chance I'll have a complete nervous breakdown. Weighing my perfect 4.0 grade point average against my sanity, I came out on the side of my sanity.

But really, it's not the paper's topic that's crucial – it's how well done it is, and how well I explain the process. I can expand the topic out to include a bit about Andrew Carnegie as philanthropist, why he cared so much about libraries, what makes a building qualify for the Historic Registry, etc. That's definitely more of a five to seven pager.

Today I'll restart the whole paper from scratch, locking myself away in a quiet place until I feel I've gotten comfortably far into the process. Then, on Sunday, I'll finish all I'm able to before I have to turn in the draft. And I WON'T LOOK BACK!

I still want to read those slave narratives, but apparently this isn't the time. My sanity thanks me for that. My hair's not unhappy about it, either.

3 thoughts on “Thank you, Mr. Carnegie.

  1. Ah, happy memories. I worked in a Carnegie library at Highgate in North London many moons ago. Great building. Just opposite Highgate Cemetary where karl Marx is buried. Wed had a ‘Russian Trade Delegation’ just nearby (I think they were all spies really) and we were always being invaded by very serious, square looking people (women as well) asking where his grave was and off they went to worship. As I said, happy days…


  2. I just saw the same reflection in the mirror! Then covered it with lots of make up! I’m on your side! A nice week on a lonely island with nothing but books to read and a beach umbrella and something very cool to drink is what the doctor ordered. However the pharmacist won’t fill the prescription….. I can dream though?


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