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.
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.
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.
12/18 12:47 PM/@derekmueller:
Now that the online writing center submission forms are back to relaying attachments for SU and UW, it's all the more warranted to cheer about TGI PHPriday. #closecall via Facebook
12/14 11:16 PM/@derekmueller:
WRTG500 paradox: Wurst (Bar) class is also best class. via Facebook
12/12 04:46 PM/@derekmueller:
Letting loose the left-handed baby hook in three v. three. #scrappingamongboys via Facebook
12/11 11:16 AM/@derekmueller:
I don't often enough boast about the graduate assistants I work closely with in EMU's First-year Writing Program, but on a Friday morning when in a quiet office I am going on and on about excellences and distinctions writ through a handful of recommendation letters, for a knock at the door to deliver a well-stocked "Sabbatical Survival Kit," let me add to the litany of praises: generosity and impeccable timing. via Facebook
12/08 05:02 PM/@derekmueller:
As we enjoy the final snacks in WRTG596 late this afternoon, Fall 2015's enduring lesson is that an open-bare handkin catches crumbs as effectively as any napkin ever did. via Facebook
12/08 01:02 PM/@derekmueller:
Door signs taken for wonderfuls. via Facebook
12/05 02:46 PM/@derekmueller:
Tuning up for season that begins next month. via Facebook
12/04 04:16 PM/@derekmueller:
Polaroid photo op (thanks Ella!) at yesterday's Celebration of Student Writing shows me as shorter than I used to be, evidence that dwindling into winter's sabbatical has begun. via Facebook
11/25 02:17 PM/@derekmueller:
I'm no coach, but I think Marygrove's going to need more players. via Facebook
11/18 08:01 PM/@derekmueller:
To decide the night's ultimate first place unrivaled intergalactic champion: a hand of two card Uno. via Facebook