My current historical work is a lot of fun, and rekindled my love of learning new things after a bit of post-Ph.D. blues. The current project has almost nothing to do with my previous fields of study, and yet I’m finding I’m making connections and seeing trails that I would have only found if I’d, well, been me!
Just yesterday I was making links to Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and catch-as-catch-can wrestling that I don’t think any other historian would have found, studying my subject. Especially the wrestling bit!
Writing history has many more constraints than fiction, and historians are always the tender of someone else’s awesome story. But historians bring unique skills, knowledge, expertise, and ideas to their work that is most definitely their own. Give a dozen historians the same cache of materials, and you’d get a dozen different books (and most of them would be arguing against the others like a bunch a kids at recess!).
It’s always great when you can have those moments shine, to give the work the colour only you can bring. In fiction, we call it voice. I hope this current book carries as much of my voice as it can handle!