Friday, May 01, 2009

Independence Has Rewards

     Recently I came across a quote by Mahalia Jackson when I was going through some old papers that I'd written down from some mysterious source and then promptly put it away for future reference. This quote struck me as particularly apt for our times and for my personal current status, too.
It's easy to be independent when you've got money.
But to be independent when you haven't got a thing-
that's the Lord's test.
      I don't know exactly how I felt about this quote when I first saved it but I've always had an independent spirit and perhaps I felt it was a bit curious of a statement. It's only more recently that I've noticed a negative aspect to my penchant for doing things my own way. Lack of support never seemed to be an issue nor did hardship. My mind hasn't changed at all. When I can work alone at something and rely on my own resources -that's when I hit a happy state that is almost like what the Hindus call nirvana.
     Perhaps it's because I've chosen a subject- castles to be precise- that seems too remote to people. Very few relate to castles or castle lore save for those who live very close by them. (People who live in Northumberland or Yorkshire come to mind.) My internet traffic on my web site and castlelady blog is most often from native English speakers when I check statistics, less often French and even more rarely others. The inquiries repeat themselves over and over again and they are very basic and almost ignorant. I think it's sad that people who have not experienced castles appear to have little or no interest in them. I would perhaps do better in England and Europe with my books than I could possibly ever achieve in sales with Americans.
     The sad part of this is that I want to get Americans excited about castles and I have made very little progress as far as I can tell. Since I have been reading about and poring over photos of castles from my childhood I almost take my own interest for granted but I can't afford to take it for granted. Too many people around me need to catch up and I may as well be speaking Greek as to talk about what I know of my subject.
     Here's the positive: It's like uncharted territory and I have to find out how to spark the interest in the architectural aspect of castles along with whatever people might find intriguing about them. I never realized how much I knew until I started talking about castles with people and then writing about them. For many years I silently studied with no desire to speak of my interest. I have been unaware, all this time, that my passion was like a secret love and it astonishes those who never thought about them. At times, it's like I'm talking about monsters. Other times I find someone who asks all the right questions and then I'm in my element.
      Along with the lack of interest and ignorance there is no financial support for such an endeavor. I could stand up in front of any university crowd and give dissertation after dissertation but I don't have any such credentials to do so and I don't think there would be any support of such training save for an architectural college. Even then, my subject would be largely irrelevant to them, eventually, for the most part. These people have to make a living when they leave with their degrees. 
      Following this path will be a lonely one but I can handle that- and there are rewards there, too. Jesus said, "A prophet hath no honor in his own country." Perhaps someday I'll see an outpouring of interest to match that of sports, movies, music and the like- until then I'll just have to revel in the hidden rewards which exist in rugged individualism and true independence. 
Individual kisses from The Castle Lady