Thursday, April 2, 2009

"springing" toward a finished chapter....

Couldn't resist using some sort of weather-related metaphor for today. We are gonna have a BEAUTIFUL day here in the Buff and I have scheduled NO TIME to really enjoy it. Until 3:30pm, that is, when my son comes home and we shoot hoops in the driveway or play catch or something until I leave for work. I do hope to open a window or two and recycle the air in my house though. These things need to be done. Yesterday was the first day of April and with it came a little rain. "April showers bring May flowers." Music to my ears, for real.

So the past two weeks have felt like I was living in 5th gear, flying down the highway with the cruise control set at 85 while I used my free hand and feet to seriously multi-task. Between going to Denver for SAM (which was great) and completely revising my Univ Buffalo paper and giving it last Saturday (which was great for me and I hope those who heard it liked it), only today do I feel like things have settled down. Phew.

My "new" Diss feels so good to me right now. I spent parts of Monday and Tuesday creating an entirely new folder of Diss material on my computer (my files and info were a MESS....a true sign for me that things had gotten way out of hand), complete with a page of outline notes for each chapter. Then I created real files--like ones you can actually touch and put things in with your hands) on the floor of my office and sorted all the research docs and copies I have (those were a mess, was timely in many many ways that my revision breakthrough came when it did, me thinks), and TAH-DAH! I have five chapters of material and I know how to complete them. Holy canoli, Batman.

The intro will always be this nebulous gooey combination of written words that will be the last chapter to put to bed. But, the outline is very helpful because it keeps me focused in a very precise and efficient way. I don't have to read through pages of text to know what I'm supposed to be talking about. I just look at the outline and see the logic (well, of course, that's relative 'cuz it's MY, I may be the only one who sees it, but AT LEAST I CAN SEE IT, yes?) and relate it to the other chapters.

After giving my paper at UB, I spent another chunk of Tuesday editing it into a reader-friendly paper (verses a speaker-friendly paper) so I could send it to my adWISER (see "Diss Redux" post for the origin of her new moniker). I had to do this because when I read a conference paper outloud, I read it (I think) based on how I talk naturally with a bit more professionalism to my voice. But, as I write that conference paper, I do things like I do here in the ol' M(MotT) to remind myself to EMPHASIZE words or stress a certain phrase, like capitals, bolds, italics. So my paper looks very goofy, but I can read it very well. So, I smoothed it out for my adWISER and sent it off to her, which felt good. Haven't heard back, but feel hopeful. She's a busy lady after all......

Anyway, my task for today involves Diss stuff and other stuff. My sleepy son is waking up as I type this. When he leaves in about 45-minutes--and before he returns seven hours later--I have to grade 115 quizzes for my class tonight and assemble my bag for work to include all the stuff I need for a class of that magnitude (we are in the Romantic!!!). That takes awhile, but since I wrote the quiz and have taught this class many times, I constructed the quiz for maximum assessment value AND minimum grading fatigue (I'm sure any math readers could find a fun equation there: MAV + MGF==MJT (more Judy-time)). But grading isn't the only issue.....entering the grades is a science of its own. I have to organize the quizzes alphetically as I grade them in order to enter the grades before a new millenium dawns. So, that's my system. And it sucks doing it. But, that has to get done. Time deadline on that one.

What I'm really eager to do is re-read the 42 pages written for the Diss that were originally the first-half of Chapter 2 and have no become---TAH-DAH--all of Chapter 2. The details of that chapter are pretty much there (professional music making in Buffalo, 1804--1860). The missing links are ideology and comparitive scholarship, like what is all "means" and what work from other, more knowledgable and tenured scholars can corroborate or differentiate my own work. I like doing that, too. So I'm going to start inserting this other "stuff" today. And I have ideas of what that will be!!!! It's like putting the last pieces of a puzzle together. Filling in the holes. Watching the complete image emerge. And oddly enough, I love puzzles.....

ANYWAY, those are the things I need and want to do today. Tomorrow is shot. My son has a half-day of school, I need to go grocery shopping and to the gym=no writing tomorrow. Judy Day. Things that I don't need but want to do today include using the 12 green Miller Chill bottles in my garage to start some spider-plant seedlings (green bottles work better for rooting cuttings, IMHO), laundry, working on my garden, cleaning out my flower beds, and searching through landscaping websites for ideas (my backyard is now carte-blanche since the trees came down). So, I'm in trouble.

But, I'm in The Chair and will fight to stay here in order to complete the two major tasks of the day. And I will do that.

Another sign that I'm in the homestretch.....I put my book "How to Write a Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day" on sale at Amazon on Tuesday. Someone bought it last night. It's already packed and ready to go (ooops, gotta stop at the post office on the way to work today....). I included a little note on the invoice slip to the buyer of this book. It says, "Thanks for buying. Good luck!!!" And I truly mean it. He's gonna need it.....

Spring has sprung!

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