Posted by on Thursday, February 4, 02016 at 06:00 PM to Sabbatical. Comments0

Thirtieth Days

Still on sabbatical. Thirty days. Work rhythms have been more predictable and disciplined lately. Up early enough, write until noon or so. Out of this, a chapter takes shape--the third chapter. I just sent it off to the editor. Just over 10,000 words. Fourty-eight references. Ten original figures plus the linked-clickable animated index. Something like 44 pages. Embedded notes about "could do more this this" and "could do more with that." Threaded through is a realization that I've been working on this chapter for a few years. And then up next will be a hard revision of the second chapter, hacking away at its extralong bulk, then adding back another 3,500 words. It's basically a concept review: three concepts. And two are done; one remains. 

Posted by on Saturday, January 16, 02016 at 10:50 AM to Sabbatical.

Thirteenth Days

Sabbatical's rhythms have taken much getting used to. Early-day starts, writing from 6-11 a.m. worked okay for a few days. Then a headcold stuffedcold, a couple of blergy-meh days through which I could justify holding close the couch's cushions. So supportive a couch. And into the most recent week, work obligations, trips to campus almost every day. Snowslop given to rain-washed-snowslop has thrown sideways all outdoor running routines (NNSA: Need new shoes, anyway); the campus pool will have me any time I will have it, and I managed to splash across a half mile or so Thursday evening before Is.'s basketball practice at St. Luke's--the first practice of the season. 

But the writing, even as it's happening, it's the sort of textural consistency of the second half of a bag of whatever brand corn chips, recognizable even if registering as too predictable and familiar and constant a flavor--academic writing wanting ghost pepper salsa (face-melting, January-melting heat to go along with). Sabbaticals have a binge-like quality and I've noticed the sharp shift in a sociality (around writing) that offers solitude and awayness as amenable to productive foci, rhythms, and attentions. Writing group? Yeah, maybe.

Not sure I can say with good-enough accuracy what the accumulative wordcount is right now. A chapter is developing, probably just under 5k words in, with the second half's sections more conceptually clear to me because they accord well with recent conference presentations on turn spotting. And the digital installation--the motion chart--has been in sight for several years now; it wants more data fed into it, but that's doable, amounting to a few more coding sessions. Not that the explanation of its methods and its making, much less the analysis and focal examples require the extra data. The motion chart wants it, is all.

And the week was also punctuated by settling the details for a talk at MTSU in early March, a talk and workshop, both, which I'm looking forward to with the right ideas, the right energy. Disciplinary Discourse Networks 1984/2014, the title a play on Kittler's epochal media archaeology. And not that I will have time to develop the threads to Kittler in any especially explicit ways, it's enough to make the theoretical nod, especially as it gets at methods, modeling, and eras in disciplinary emergence: discourse communities flourished in the 1980s because structuralism (including infra- and post- prefixed -structuralism) was especially upset and churning. Much more to this distinction, more than I'll labor through here (or in the talk, for that matter); suffice it to say that we're readier than we've been in some time to create the simple visual models that accord with insights into disciplinary discourse networks--semantic, bibliographic, affinity-based, choric, career-emplaced, and so on. And particularly for newcomers, I hope growing compulsions toward depth and complexity fetishism (qua ecology fascination-asms) don't entirely occlude these simple visual models and what's especially generative in what they do, the framing they provide, the footings they sponsor, and so on.

Posted by on Tuesday, January 5, 02016 at 11:00 AM to Sabbatical.

Second Days

Second days of sabbaticals. I've known only one second day: today. The fifth. As worklike as day one, with the exception that digressive minutiae are more appealing than before--trimming fingernails, sweeping the floor (not that it needs it but for that one speck of mud maybe, which spotted me spying it as the tea kettle took its sweet time steaming from audible boil to pressure-sent whistler). Trim and sweeeeep. Then back in the chair to do office-chair office chair things. Ever nonmagical, more stylistically cumin than cayenne.

Tried to write with some background music, but that was a Johnny J.R. Cashbust. Too distracting, Cindy. What is truth? No earthly good for getting shit done. For the last sprint, I found some wordless Buddhist harpy strumtracks to cycle through iTunes, and that was enough songburst to get this upticking chapter to--what?--nearly a second section in. Put much finer points on a couple of phrases in the first section (stylistic cayenne!), extending it by 155 words and launched the second section with 906 words (maths: 1061). At daybreak I thought maybe I would blaze all the way through to 1500 and dust the second section off, but no, and it's fine. Dandyfine. I'm also learning to relax about the goals, trust slow and steady and whatever draftmess piles up one day is suited to smoothing the next. 

I regard this now as a banality dispatch, but will post anyway. Oh, okay, so I worked on the book again today. That's what sabbaticals are for. Nonmagical, butt in chair, putting down words that, truth is, range from geez have I been thinking about this for one helluva long time to geez I have no idea on earth what I'm trying to say to geez this is such an old and familiar friend, this idea, to geez is this the best register for warm-accessible reception both by newcomers to the field and by established scholar-colleagues to geez it's happening and its taking shape is not limited to my fingerstrokes/keystrokes only. 

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Jan 4, 2016: Occam's Sabbatical to Sabbatical
Dec 23, 2015: In Dribs and Drabs to On Weblogs
Dec 22, 2015: Breaktest to Invention
Aug 30, 2015: Nightmare Network to Networks
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The Part About
Welcome to Earth Wide Moth. FaceI'm Derek Mueller, Associate Professor of Written Communication and Director of the First-year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University. Generally, my teaching and research concerns writing, rhetoric, and technology. More specifically, I'm nomadically navigating questions concerning new media and networked digital writing activity, mapping and geographies, visual modeling methods, network studies, and theories of composing. In addition to this blog, which blurs the boundaries commonly thought to separate personal and professional interests, I make use of Delicious, Flickr, Twitter, etc. Send email to dereknmueller at gmail dot com.