The Borderlands Lodge rises up from the ashes...

July 9, 2014

Well Borderheads, it's been a pretty wild few weeks, that's for sure. The Borderlands Lodge has been the site of some major brushfires lately, all of which are at least partly of my own making. That's life in the borderlands, I guess. 

The work began immediately after my return from Turkey in the second week of June. I'd had a great month of vacation, and came back to the Bozone feeling pretty refreshed. And then I got the copy-edited version of my manuscript. 

So, my life was pretty much taken up with my book until about one week ago. In fact, it was Independence Day that I sent off my final version. I'll have a look at the proofs later this summer, so I've been told, but all substantial changes have been made. 

I feel good about it. Writing a book is a totally stressful process. It's also been fun, but putting the finishing touches on something that's been part of your life for more than a decade isn't easy. I got interested in the pan-Turkists at the end of my second year at Princeton, back when I was an MA student. I started learning Tatar in the summer of 2002, at Kazan State University. That was also my summer researching in government archives for the first time. I got my feet wet at the NART archive in Kazan, then had an absolutely humiliating experience in St. Petersburg--where the Russian state history archive (known as RGIA) had been transformed into a netherworld dystopia in the months prior to its move from the embankment.

RGIA was a bit intimidating back in 2002

So, it's been a long road. My first few, halting attempts to speak Russian to librarians and reading room directors in St. Petersburg were excruciating. I tended to get a lot of attention from the Turkic-speakers, however, so in other places I did okay. Eventually, my Russian got better, at least to the extent that the humiliations came a little less frequently. 

Across a bunch of different countries I've talked about this manuscript with loads of different people. It's wild to think that this project is finally ending. 

In any case, that was my life until Independence Day. Since I sent the manuscript off, I've been relaxing, and trying to get my life back in order. Something else I've had to work on is the Borderlands blog, which has undergone a metamorphosis. 

In the mornings, I often like to read the newsfeed on the side widget of the Borderlands, but on Thursday of last week I saw that the blog was down. GoDaddy had set fire to the Borderlands Lodge. 

Oh, No!


Yes, it's true. Years ago, when I first set up my website, I decided to also make a blog. Since GoDaddy was hosting my website, I did the blog through a service they provided called QuickBlogcast. Last week, however, GoDaddy decided to pull the plug on QuickBlogcast. The message informing me of this decision got lost in my spam folder, and suddenly my blog was gone. 

For a while it looked as if all was lost. After talking to some people at GoDaddy, however, I was able to get txt files of my blog, which I have been uploading to my new host. I'm still trying to personalize the blog a bit further--I can't get the favicon to work. A lot of the old posts are in weird small fonts and all of the old links to other posts are now broken.  Over time, I hope to rebuild. Hopefully, Lodge II will end up looking even better than its predecessor. Still, I'll have fond memories of the old one.  

I'm also busy teaching--yes, teaching! I'm paying for the month I spent traveling around Turkey. It's an online course, which is a first for me--as is teaching in the summer more generally. I'm starting to see some ways in which this could add to the educational experience, rather than necessarily be something that is in all facets weaker than an in-person class. It's definitely a challenge, but it paid for the Anatolian Express so I have no complaints. 

Otherwise, I'm just hanging out in Montana. I do have a car for the summer, so who knows? Maybe I'll head to Mexico City. Chances are, however, that I stay under the big skies for now. 

This rainbow appeared to be landing across the street

In any case, the big news is that the book is one step closer to being finished. OUP is still estimating that it will be out this October. Do you any of you Borderheads work someplace with a library? If so, maybe you should ask them to buy the book.  



After 10+ years working on Muslim migration, the pan-Turkists, and the Russian and Ottoman empires, I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit. Maybe I'll finally get down to writing that exposé on the Montreal expos...

Will the secrets ever be told?

 It's mainly just nice to have a few minutes to catch my breath, and maybe even get a massage or two. That's what a summer should be for!  

Like the Borderlands? You'll love the book! Order your copy now at the OUP website.   

More links, commentary and photographs available poolside at the Borderlands Lounge


  1. Gordz O'DobermeisterJuly 9, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Bad news about the blog, Jim! Kolay gelsin with the phoenixification work. My M.Ed. was mostly online/distance and no less enjoyable for that. Have a relaxing summer!

  2. Jim Meyer's BorderlandsJuly 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Çok Mersi, Gordz, for the kind wordz. Also good to hear the reminder re the potential benefits of online education. As for the phoenixification, it's going okay I suppose but the devil is mos def in the fonts.