So, I’ve counted the number of names on my Acknowledgements Page, which is now up to five pages. I suppose I should call it the ‘Acknowledgements Section’ instead.
I have 97 names listed so far, and many more folks to contact before the real writing begins. Truly, I think I have enough names here to say that we’ve formed an Emmett Wilson village of sorts; the 97 names constitute my own Village People!
Logically, I knew there was no way I could hope to write any kind of historic biography without (minimally) help from research librarians.
One of the hardest things for me to do has been to cold call people; even sending out introductory queries by email has made me uneasy. Why? It isn’t like the phone weighs 3,000 pounds, or that email ‘costs’ anything.
The real issue for me in reaching out to total strangers in doing Emmett’s research is that people could say ‘No, I don’t want to help,’ or, simply be rude in response to your query. If you are new to research, this is the reality of information gathering. It can happen sometime; and often, it has nothing to do with you, your research, or anything else. Sometimes people don’t want to help, and that’s fine.
Incredibly, that has not been the case at all. What has amazed and humbled me is how many others have readily offered assistance, and even reached out to me, unasked, to help. In fact, I’ve had only three instances of what I’d call rudeness; two of the instances were from the same person, and he, unfortunately (and unknown to me) has dementia.
When I started looking into the life of Emmett Wilson, I honestly did not think I would find much, and I prepared myself to give it a few weeks’ worth of looking around, then to let it go. But the research got interesting, and I was hooked. It just goes to show that you never know what you can expect to find until — and unless — you start the research journey.
I’m very glad (and grateful) to have been given the opportunity to study this man’s life, for this whole process has truly changed mine for the better.