I have been reading Manning Clark’s A Historian’s Apprenticeship – a short book about writing the 6-volume History of Australia.
He sketched many of his initial piecemeal ideas and impressions in a little black book – ‘I began to write down ideas in all sorts of places’. He continues,
I wrote many an entry in the little black book when my colleagues at the Australian National University were telling each other at meetings of the Professional Board or the Faculty of Arts, in long a dreary speeches, how important their subject was and what a contribution they had made to the advancement of wisdom and knowledge. Sometimes the entries record the comfort derived from imagining these colleagues on the hoist in a garage for an oil and a grease in preparation for their next encounter with their academic rivals; sometimes they too are seen as being nailed to a cross, viewed from the eye of pity as men and women who would never get what they wanted – the power they coveted, or the applause or the recognition that were forever out of reach.