Friday, July 23, 2010

checking thing off the list, part 3

some wins, some loses

Once I got my computers files cleaned up,* I downloaded EndNote from the university software site and spent about 3 days downloading—and occasionally entering by hand—300+ citations for articles that I already had stored on my computer (plus about 30 I encountered while grabbing those citations). PDFs are now attached. I’ve sorted these into groups and subgroups, but will probably go back in and re-arrange them sometime when I’m stuck without internet; but definitely before I officially start the lit search for my next project.

I have NOT managed to get the new printer set up (turns out I'm not so inspired to scan photos or more archival docs when I'm busy sorting through the gazillion I already have on my computer—and we won’t talk about the hall closet that is full of boxes of old family photos that have never been sorted, labeled or culled in any way). BUT, my last book order arrived and I got one of those polished off yesterday.

Another of the books I bought is an anthology of interdisciplinary articles originally published in the early 90s. One of those is by a well-known theorist in my field. I “know” his work well enough to use, cite, and teach it (bits and pieces, anyway), but this particular article is important to an argument I am making and I am here to tell you that I had to read that sucker 3 times, THREE times, to really satisfy myself that I’d comprehended at least three-fourths of it. In part, this is because, as I realized yesterday, I am not so well-schooled in literary terminology (especially when a gaggle of very similar, yet subtly distinct conventions are central to his argument), even though my field has done considerable poaching on that territory for some time (and I know much of that literature like the back of my hand). Anyway, since my lit crit friend and colleague is in India with her family—thus unavailable to sit with me over a cup of coffee and help me tease out these aforementioned distinctions and their theoretical implications—I was forced to suffer some quality time with this article.

If the conditions are just perfect (good chairs on the deck, not too much wind) I might get a few more of the chapters in this same book read over the weekend (lots to be said for reading the toughest one first). It is our anniversary today and we getting out of Dodge, but old habits are hard to break. When I was an undergrad—and always off to my best friend’s beach house or to nearby Lake Somerville—her Hobie Cat trailing behind—I took required reading with me. Of course, in those days, I was reading the likes of Redman, Sabloff and Binford.

*in a bit, I'll post the organizational plan/folder hierarchy I mentioned yesterday; gotta make another pot of coffee (TH is consuming more than his fair share, while he cranks out a ms review).

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