I’m writing this while I sit in the lounge at Glasgow airport, waiting for a gate for the flight that will take the project on its first international foray.
This week, I’m off to visit the University of South Carolina’s Thomas Cooper Library, home to the largest collection of Burns related materials outside Scotland.
The trip is to be an exciting mix of establishing my own working relationships with people who are already good friends of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, and various tasks relating to different aspects of the project – some work with manuscripts, texts dealing with Burns’s personality and biographies which shaped the way the poet was viewed after his death. There should be time for some sight-seeing too.
It’s an exciting prospect but a little daunting too. It’s going to be the longest and furthest I’ve travelled on my own, so there has been much girding of the loins in recent weeks. First impressions are always important, so I’m keen to give a good account of myself and the project, and show that it’s of the same high standard of anything from my Burns colleagues.
On the whole though, it’s a great opportunity that’s only come about through the project, so it’s something else I’m hugely thankful for, and I look forward to sharing it with you all next week.