From William Cullen's Journal: September 7, 2016.
I’ve never been able to keep a journal going for very long. I can never move myself to sit down and write every day. But I’m trying to keep this one going during this new beginning for me and my research.
I know that years from now I will want to look back and recapture this time as it really is, as I really am. Before I made my greatest discoveries. Before I began to realize the potential of what are right now only my theories. Before I solved the mysteries of the Insular Celtic languages. Before I revitalized Celtic studies, and exposed the true foundations of the Celtic cultures within the religion of the pre-Celtic Druids. Before I achieved the recognition from my colleagues, and the fame from the world, that I so richly deserve.
I grow weary of being here alone, although I have this strange feeling of being not alone. I’m not paranoid. But it’s just that somehow, I’m not alone. It is odd. In my efficiency apartment in Delaware, on the main drag, above a restaurant, with people constantly walking up and down main street outside my window on the sidewalk below, I felt alone. Working in the library, whether it was full of fellow students or empty, I felt so alone. But here in Barrow, in the house, there is this feeling of being not alone. Not that someone is here with me. Just that I am not alone.
I feel so at home here, so embraced, and welcome. But it is also a strange place. This modern, Ikea-like aesthetic is on one hand clean, but alienating and empty. Then there are remnants in the past in chandeliers and balustrades, vintage and all amazingly well-preserved. But on a purely aesthetic level, it's hideous. It has all got to go. Once I've had a moment to settle into teaching at Salem State, I'm going to get a contractor in here as soon as possible.
In between musing on how to best remodel and anticipating about this next step in my career, I wander and explore the house and the grounds. I've never lived in a house this large. The way the house endlessly flows -- from the front door, into the open floor plan with the big living room, with the built-in bookshelves on the right, and the mammoth dining room on the left (I mean, how many people dined in this room? Twenty?), past the wide staircase at center with its twisted railings. And then past the stainless steel countertops into the kitchen, onto grey laminate tile. The kitchen adjoins the garage and the basement. An oversized metal door leads out to each of them.
When you look up the house's central stairwell, your eyes follow the spirals that rise through the remaining two stories, clear into the top floor and you see a round skylight that goes through the attic and into the sky. Looking up, even on a grey day, I get vertigo. As if I am about to plummet into a void. And upstairs, with the many bedrooms and closets, and a library and a sitting room and I don't even know what to call some of those other rooms. It is still a lot to take in.
I suppose like any new house, this one reveals unexpected eccentricities as I live within it. Probably it is just the shock of the unfamiliar and alien, the strange sounds in the night, the feeling of not being alone in such a large place. Creaks and squeaks and taps and groans carrying downward two stories from the top floor, or creeping up from the basement. It's somehow not empty. As if the air that fills the space has an almost discernible presence so one never feels quite alone.
Then there is simply the unanticipated. The basement leading from the kitchen is much smaller than I expected, and of an uneven triangular shape. Whereas the right angle follows the shape of the house above, the hypotenuse of the triangle juts across what would be the center of the living room. As if space has been removed from the basement. It isn't a big deal. The basement was finished reasonably well with shelving and heating, and I only plan to use it as storage. I had just never gone into the basement before I bought the house. And I just assumed it would match the footprint of the foundation.
The backyard, in contrast, is much larger than I realized. Close to the house, there are tangles of rose bushes, clusters of wild and domestic flowers and vegetables that have all crept beyond their original planting grounds. This must have been a great garden at one time. At its rear, the garden is bordered by a hedge row. I had thought that my lot ended here, about twenty feet from the garage in the back of the house. But when I wandered beyond, I discovered a great deal more land, unmanicured and overgrown, extending to the creek. Here I stumbled upon the squared foundations of stone buildings of the past, and stone walls that may have 0nce enclosed the entire property. Possibly the land beyond the creek is even mine. I'm not sure. The next house beyond the creek must be a quarter-mile away.
It would be interesting to learn more about the past of this house and what purpose these buildings and walls once served. Storage buildings for winter food reserves perhaps. Servants’ quarters, possibly. But I must not let myself get distracted by this past. In fact I need to go completely in another direction, into other pasts. My research, upon which I lay the foundations of my future, lie in that other past. A much older, deeper, distant past.
My sleep here in the house is oddly deep. I do not wake. I cannot recall a single dream. I must be exhausted from all the emotions of moving, of anticipating my new life here, where I am at last, with the chance to fully devote myself to my research. I had hoped to write more about the house tonight, but I am so tired. And I am going to need my rest.
For tomorrow, I will officially begin my post as Assistant Professor of Ancient Languages at Salem State University. Such a mix of excitement and foreboding. The opportunity to fully plumb the depths of my theories and their implications. To see if I can really translate, as I believe, a language that the senior scholars in my field are certain never existed. And in doing so, uncover the pre-Celtic burial rites in the British Isles. To bring to life the mysteries of a people long buried by their conquerors.