Friday, December 11, 2009

Literally surrounded by inspiration

As evidenced by my username, the only thing I love as much as running is medieval history. I am currently working on 3 papers for the end of the semester. One is on Anglo-Saxon female sanctity, one is on an Anglo-Norman nun, and one is on the problems of female sanctity in the later Middle Ages. As one friend said "Those all sound really similar." While they are all dealing with female sanctity in the Middle Ages, they have much different arguments. Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of reading in preparation for writing these three papers. I've also been wishing I had a second bookcase; all of the library books for these papers have really filled up the shelves. As a new shipment of books came in this afternoon, I was putting them on the shelves and looking around and realized my bookcase really says a lot about me.
My medieval books take up the most space, which is to be expected. Even within that subject, they run the gamut with titles ranging from "Holy Anorexia" to "Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women" to "The Autumn of the Middle Ages." Included in those are my art history books, which sometimes I pull out for distraction and just gaze at some of the art, which is just gorgeous. If I can't live in Italy, I can at least pretend!
All of my history books are on the shelf, but there are at least 100-200 more at home. It sounds nutty, but I can't wait for the day when I can just have them all together in one central location. I think part of this also came from the fact that I was at my adviser's house this weekend, and she has a beautiful library set up in her living room. I want a whole wall of books too!
I have all of my running medals on the bookcase. I keep them there as a reminder of what I've done, especially to remind me when I'm questioning my ability to do something (like finish these terms papers). I have my running books/magazines there too, which are my favorite thing to read before bed. My medieval toys are up there on the shelf too: my medieval action figures, and the witch doll my mentor gave me when I defended my senior thesis (on medieval witchcraft).
Actually, a lot of my wall space has to do with running/inspiration. I'm a big believer in surrounding myself with positives words and images. The wall next to my desk is my "inspirational wall." My race bibs are up there, as are poems that friends have given me, special pictures, and some other things that give me confidence, reassurance, or simply make me smile. The wall next to my bed has index cards with favorite quotes about running. I initially put them up there to help me get out of bed for my runs when I started to train for my first marathon. I also have a poster of Deena Kastor, one of my favorite runners. I find that funny - I never admired particular athletes when I was younger, and now I keep up with all of the running athletes!
If anything, I know that I work well and write well when I'm inspired, and all of these things help to motivate me when I'm writing or need to get out the door for a run!

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