In the kindness of their collective hearts, Norton decided that 1) it would best to give me until January 2 to finish giving them input on the index, and 2) it would be easier for me to evaluate the index if they sent me a final copy of the book–all corrected, with maps and acknowledgments and page numbers and EVERYTHING. It’s BEAUTIFUL.

So next week I’ll tackle such questions as: Should “civil war” be a subentry of “wars and warfare,” or should it be separate? Should the First Servile War be indexed under “F,” or should the main entry be for “Servile War” with “First” as a subentry?

It may not sound very exciting (and in fact it isn’t), but I’m so glad to be back to history-writing that I don’t mind it. I’ve finished a committee-mandated dissertation revision, which I hope will be the last, and put all my dissertation books away until after the New Year, and I’ve gotten ALL my medieval history maps and charts and books back out so that I can write about the White Huns.

As you gaze at the above picture, you might want to read about why messy desks are a good thing, from the New York Times. This week we’re revelling in all sorts of creative messes, involving not only books and maps but flour and sugar.

I’ve still got at least one child in the more-is-more school of cookie decoration. As witness:

That’s a cookie sheet that reflects a very happy and busy mind.

So a Merry Christmas to all my readers. May your houses and desks show evidence of creativity and happy busyness.

Showing 12 comments
  • Sherry

    Merry Christmas, Susan. May your new year be filled with good books and good writing. Thanks for blogging.

  • Lori

    Yeah, yeah, that’s it. I am a “nicer, cooler person” and a better parent because my house is a mess. I knew there was a reason!

  • strider


    Sorry to hear about your misery in the hospital. I find it’s hit or miss, and very dependent upon who’s on duty. Hope you are all better soon.

    Do you recommend your new history series as curriculum for logic or rhetoric aged students?



  • Janice in NJ

    It’s good to know that SOMEONE thinks that a messy desk is a good thing. Honestly? It personally drives me crazy. I REALLY think that it inhibits my productivity, but I normally just don’t have the time to do anything about it. It’s been nice to take a breather from our routine and clean my desk, my nightstand, and my closet. It just feels good.

    The cookies look yummy; we’ve a batch of “busy mind product” sitting on the top of our stove. I suspect they’ll be gone before I have the time to transfer them into the cookie jar.

    Wishing you and your gang a sweet and glorious weekend!

  • Susan


    Definitely for rhetoric-stage students–my own high school student is using the MS 🙂 and we’re hoping to put together a rhetoric-stage curriculum guide here at Peace Hill Press. I imagine that any advanced seventh or eighth grader–one who’s reading regular adult trade books–would find it usable, although a little overwhelming (it’s long).

    I’ll try to get some sample chapters up in the New Year.


  • Sandy

    One of my favorite quotes is from A.A. Milne:
    “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” That’s the story of my world! 🙂

  • Vicki in WA

    I know you’ve put your dissertation books away for a “few moments” but I am curious to know your dissertation topic. Do you mention it in a previous post or are you willing to share an abstract of it? I’d like to know a little more. Thanks.

  • strider

    Susan–Thanks for your reply. I’ll bear that in mind as I plan. I am looking forward to seeing the book when it is published! –strider

  • mel moore

    i made my supervisor read that article so she knows what a briliant worker she has in me…

  • Jennifer in OR

    I love the cookie sheet, I love the piles of books, and I most love that classical education does not mean stuffy education. I have a feeling that you clean up your messes in a timely manner, though, based on the lovely pictures of your home that I’ve seen posted!

    Happy New Year!

  • DianeW

    Love the photo of the cookie sheet! My 13 year old daughter thinks cookie decorating is a matter of supreme self-expression, and will labor over the task, while my 6 year old son is definitely in the “more is more” stage. His creations this year are something that only his grandmother would eat (Did you make that Zachary? Well, of course I want that one!). God bless her. Actually, about halfway through the decorating, Zach gave up the charade altogether, and just began taking heaping spoonfuls of frosting, dipping them into the bowl of sprinkles, and eating them. I could almost hear the cavities forming in his newly erupted 6 year old molars.

    Hope your Christmas was wonderful and peaceful! Continued best wishes on completing the final stages of your book!

    Diane W.
    Salt Lake City

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  • I am Vindicated!

    I got some of the best news of the new year today when I found out that I possess one of the true, incontrovertible marks of greatness. I’ll just let the New York Times indirectly sing my praises: An anti-anticlutter

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