I Don’t Think I’m Brilliant

I don’t think I’m brilliant. Just wanted to let everyone know. Whenever I put up a new post, particularly one about languages, the paranoid part of me is afraid that you all think I’m sitting at my computer saying “This is the most awesome thing ever! I am a goddess among scholars!”

There’s nothing to be impressed about with my Latin and OE posts, except perhaps that I have the audacity to post in the languages when I’m not proficient. I’ve been studying Latin for 7 months (no teacher). I’ve had my Old English textbooks for a year longer than that (also no teacher), but if you put together the time I’ve actually had to study OE, it probably amounts to less time than Latin. I do put a lot of work into translations for my posts, but I’m still learning. When I make mistakes, I want you to know that it’s not because I didn’t bother checking—it’s because I really don’t know any better yet. Maybe I shouldn’t blog in dead languages until I’m more skilled, but I’ll never improve in a vacuum. If not for a certain meme, mistakes and all, many of you would have never even found Made of Ƿ. I started blogging in Latin and OE for the amusement of the 5 people who were reading Made of Ƿ at the time (this isn’t an exaggeration—there really were only 5 regular readers and one of them was my mother).

Now, other people are actually reading Made of Ƿ. Lots of them. It’s terrifying. Every time I log into WordPress, the paranoid part of me is afraid that someone will have skillfully denounced me as a charlatan, forever annihilating my slowly-congealing reputation. That hasn’t happened yet, though. All of the corrections I have received are from people who are eager to help me on my way. You will never realize just how much I appreciate you.

I’ve been working with medieval history and literature longer than languages. I received my MA in English Literature in 2010, and my thesis was half medieval. Since then, I’ve been studying in order to prepare myself for a PhD program while working multiple jobs to pay off student loans. I’ve managed to impress a few people with the knowledge I’ve acquired so far, but I’m quite aware of the vast amount of material yet to be absorbed. I’m more confident in my posts about medieval history than I am about language, but I will make mistakes.

So, I just wanted everyone to know that I know I’m not brilliant. I hope you don’t think I’m fishing for compliments, though—I don’t want to be self-deprecating either. I don’t think I’m a complete idiot. I think that I have the potential to be brilliant, but it’s going to take many more years of study and a lot of hard work. Thank you to all of the subscribers and frequent visitors who are prepared to work with me as I try to become brilliant. Maybe someday, I’ll get there.


I Don’t Think I’m Brilliant — 7 Comments

  1. I’ve been reading you since your reader Nelson linked to you from a different site. Been hooked ever since and just want to say thank you and I’ve really been enjoying your posts. I for one think you’re brilliant, and hopefully my reading and support will make you even more so, and maybe make me brilliant at the same time! :)

  2. Ah! What a great post. And one that I certainly sympathise with (as, I’m sure, do many others). It is scary when more and more people start to view your blog, and also quite terrifying feeling like you’re not an expert in something that you’re putting out there into the world. I mostly receive good feedback about my blog, but once, just ONCE two people wrote to me at around the same time with a tiny correction about one of my posts, and I felt my confidence shatter slightly. But I’ll let you into a little secret I’ve stumbled upon… in my attendance at conferences, and in reading articles, books and reviews, and in reading other people’s blogs I’ve realised that even experts make mistakes, and even they too feel like they don’t know absolutely everything. So what you’re feeling is what 99% of the thinking population thinks, and it’s incredibly healthy. Your blog is great, and it’s brave and fantastic that you’re using it as a teaching and practice tool for yourself – that’s exactly what I do with mine too :) So keep it up!

  3. I’m your mom and I know you’re brilliant.
    It will just take the rest of the world a little more time to realize it.
    Love You!

  4. There is nothing wrong with sitting at the computer, thinking ‘this is the most awesome thing ever!’!! =) Thank you for your articles, I really enjoy reading your blog, and actually it was my OE teacher who told us about it!!! So don’t be terrified, i think those skillful scholars know the best what a hard work it is to acquire a dead language.

  5. Actually, I started reading Made of Wynn because someone linked me to your Misuse of the Word “Medieval” series. It’s quite interesting reading.

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