So, yesterday I had to go pick up my shortened curtains for the dining room (which look great, btw) at the place by school, so I also took the opportunity to go to the library and to check out a great many books for NB. (Note to student workers at the circulation desk: yes, I really am checking out all of those books, and I'm sick of your attitude that there is something wrong with that or that my doing so is a burden to you. Do your job and stop with the unsolicited commentary and/or pissy looks. Thank you.)
And then, shockingly enough, I did some reading and note-taking. What was sort of neat about this is that it allowed me to realize that I actually had done a lot of reading this spring before the house madness really took off, and also it allowed me to realize that I'm really into working on my project in earnest. It also got me thinking, though, about my process and why I do this stuff the way I do.
Because here's the thing: I do a LOT of long-hand note-taking. The dissertation/book cured me of actually writing entire manuscripts longhand, but a lot of the writing/transcribing that I do in these early stages is done sans computer. At later stages, I also edit long-hand. Here, for example, is my binder for NB. This is where I'm keeping all of my notes for critical books and some theory.
Yes, this is my low-tech way of beginning a project. You may wonder why this is how I do it. I sort of wonder, too. I know one piece of it is that when I type I can transcribe whole passages without actually reading them, so I miss a crucial step in thinking if I don't write out the notes long-hand. Also, because it takes more effort to write things out long-hand, I tend to edit my notes down to what I really might use rather than to try to transcribe everything that is marginally interesting. In other words, doing my notes this way slows me down and focuses me, and also it gives me an ownership over the texts with which I'm working that typing doesn't give me. Or so I think. It may also just be that I'm afraid to do it a different way. What if it didn't work?
So yesterday I worked for about 3 hours (not counting the time I spent in the library), and it was good. I am feeling a bit out of sorts about my project conceptually because it seems like every source I encounter - even the ones that seem like they would be foundational to what I want to think about - gets a crucial thing (or what I think is a crucial thing) totally wrong. But when you encounter that over and over again, you start wondering whether it's not everybody else that's wrong but rather you who is totally off your rocker. Ah, well, I guess I just need to keep plugging away and see where the reading/writing takes me.
And then I was talking with a friend last night and I realized that I don't even know why I'm doing this project really. Or, I do: it's because I really want to think about this stuff. But seriously: why attempt to write another book? Why is that the way that I need to think about this stuff? Why am I compelled to do such a project when, in the grand scheme of things, it promises to be a lot of work for not much reward? Am I a masochist? Something else? What is it that motivates me to do this sort of thing?
Anyway, I know I haven't really written a cohesive post here. I'm just sort of writing whatever pops into my head. But that's the latest. Now I'm going to go eat something and do some house-stuff and then maybe do a little more reading before Naomi comes over tonight for drinks and catching up and reminiscing, etc.
7 years ago