Thursday, September 3, 2015

More about FPU soon, but first: a hopeful note

I've been flailing for so long I've almost forgotten what it feels like to do otherwise:

  • This summer, I flailed in the archives, as I worked with an entirely new genre of documents in new archives with no idea what I was looking for.
  • I've been flailing a bit about the "so what" of this book as a whole. When someone asks what the argument of my half-drafted book is, I contemplate faking my own death -- even though I know this is really the most important question to ask
  • More proximately, I've been flailing about what the chapter I'm working on meant.

"Breathe, Notorious," I tell myself. "It's okay to write your way into this one. The idea will come. It always does. For now, just write." And so that's what I've been doing. And lo and behold, earlier this week, I got one of the "big picture" hooks I'm going to need for the book. Still nothing on the chapter... until this morning. I kinda-sorta figured it out. For now, anyway. I'm willing to let this change and evolve. But I no longer lie away at night thinking that this chapter -- and maybe even the book -- will amount to "Look at all this neat stuff I found!" And that is a huge relief.


Comradde PhysioProffe said...

Gargoyles! Are there Gargoyles outside your window!?!?

Historiann said...

Oh, come on! I am so disinclined to indulge this "flailing" post. You know you'll figure it all out, because 1) no one else will, and 2) you've done it before. Right?

Plus, you're at FPU, and I'm schlepping it back in my real life & no longer on sabbatical or fellowship myself. SO not sympathetic.

Belle said...

I totally get the flailing. I felt like that during most of my archival research. I just couldn't imagine why everybody couldn't see how fascinating this stuff was. Why did I need an argument - why not just 'look at all this cool stuff!!'. Of course you'll figure it out - but first you have to wallow in it. Isn't writing it out helpful?

undine said...

I want to say something clever about flailing and separating wheat from the chaff, but the point is: you have the hook! As Belle and Historiann say, you will certainly figure it out.

af said...

I am presenting my Big Interesting Theory at a conference of people who know about stuff this weekend, and am seriously thinking of scrapping it and going back to Look at All This Cool Stuff. Because the cool stuff is there, for sure; there is no denying its existence, nor all the work I have done to find it, nor the translating. The Big Interesting Theory, on the other hand, may make no sense at all. Some days it seems ridiculously obvious, and others it seems completely wrong.