February 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
The sunlight is streaming through the southeast bay windows. Shadows cast by the spidery winter branches of the Lombardi Polar hang suspended in the air. A low growl curls in my big shepherd’s throat as he goes to the window. “No!” I say, in my gravelly cold soaked voice. “Get Down.” He turns and wanders away from the window aimlessly patrolling the east window. Strolling back, he hops into a high backed chair in the bay windows and curls up with his nose tucked over his paws.
My elderly fox terrier is cozy in his own sunbeam, snuggled in his favourite sleeping bag. Upstairs the bathtub is running as Husband prepares to leave for his regular Sunday job, anchoring the bass section in a church choir. I am ensconced on a leather loveseat, my empty coffee cup signalling it is time to get up and get busy. Writing is a convenient way to hold off the inevitable dog walk and house cleaning that lie before me today.
I’m feeling a little wretched with this cold. I don’t mind so much the sinusitis or constantly having to clear my throat. I hate having a sore throat. As a child I endured constant sore throats until finally, at the age of eight or nine, my tonsils were removed. I’m not sure the procedure helped or not. What I do know is that whenever I get a cold, I get the most painful sore throat and it is almost impossible to alleviate the pain, no matter what I try.
I will describe my living room. The flooring was laid in 1906. It is first growth fir, a little worse for wear but a lovely golden colour. A week’s worth of dog hair and boot dirt is visible from where I sit, with extra hair balls accumulated under the grand piano near the matching dog crates. In one corner is my double bass, on its stand, still in its case from the last concert I played with the amateur orchestra. Beside it are my two ukeleles and two guitars, all in their cases, all unplayed for some months.
Crammed in a shelf is the big shepherd’s stuffed Duckie. He is good for a game of fetch, as long as it only lasts two tosses. After that he loses interest and wants to do something else, like attack passersby. Also on the shelf are my buckets of pencil crayons and pens. These, too, are unused for many months. Two large binders on the shelf contain the course materials for passing the first level of carpentry apprenticeship. Both Husband and I are committed, he at the age of 55 and me at the age of 59, to becoming red seal carpenters. These binders are our first step in the formal process of acquiring that certification.
In the bay window are ranged four comfortable chairs, two of them occupied by dogs, as mentioned earlier. Directly across the room from me, in the far corner of the bay windows, is a small, modest coffee table. Sitting on that table is an inch and a half of paper neatly stacked. On top of that paper is another five page document, stapled, and settled slightly askew of the main stack of paper. These papers represent the cumulation of seven years of work on a doctoral dissertation. The main stack is the thesis itself, printed off in hard copy with annotations from my ex-supervisor and my new supervisor.
In the southwest corner of the room the grand piano sits, passed to Husband, from his dearly departed mother, a family heirloom from his grandmother’s generation. Various collections of music clutter the music stand and the top of the piano. Also sitting on the piano is the book recently published by my daughter, a provocative collection of photographs and journal notes from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties. The book portrays the life of tree-planting culture at that time, and I figure in the story as her pregnant mother who gave birth to her in a tree planting camp.
Looking at the pictures in the book inspired me to dig out some of my photos and drawings from that period. A small collection of these images are also stacked on the piano, awaiting scanning and posting on the social media site were friends and family, past and present, are gathering to share stories.
The grand entry to the living room has a curtain rod that no longer holds curtains, but now serves as a drying rack for washed coveralls and other work clothes.
The sun is rising in the morning sky and the light now floods through the unwashed windows and bounces off the warm fir floors. The light reverberates through the room, drawings lines of perspective with shadows across the ceiling.
The big dog is on the move again. This time he growled at something on the street and voluntarily got down off his chair. Ah. Progress.
October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment
I have just finished working for a couple of hours mapping my research processes which kind of turned into mapping my projects and tasks, which turned into thinking about timelines. I have a lot of thinking, researching, and writing to do! Just to finish this term. I hope my process design is going to work because if it doesn’t I don’t see how I am going to have time to re-think what I am doing. Looking forward to the digital pen and the speechwriting software. God. I hope they help me get this stuff done. Now I finally feel ready to get some writing done – that is, writing from my notes. I do have a plan in place for processing texts. I have so much work to do!
October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment
where my work needs to distinguish itself from the others. I can see now that bringing my studio processes into my writing processes is going to give me the edge I have been needing to bring all this chaos of thought into some sort of coherence. I have figured out that I can use Inspiration for my outline drafting and idea development. There is actually a freehand drawing function in the program. Now that gives me the combination I have been looking for, to be able to quickly type and draw in one application and not have to fuss with layers or overly complex programming. The digital pen will allow me to quickly shift between typing and drawing without the encumberance of needing the tablet hooked up to my laptop. The speech recognition software will allow me to speak my writing, which I think will contribute to reducing technical jargon and bring my writing into a more accessible form. I’ve been thinking, too, about using Dennis, as an imagined audience, to write emails to, but never sending the emails. This gives me a way to write to someone who I have huge respect for, who I will polish my prose before sending. In this way, I can have an ideal audience and write in the email form. At the same time, I get the words out as a communication to a real (though imagined) person. The email format works well because it divides the content into discrete topics. I really should get going with my housework now, but I am stoked! A walk to see if I can pick up a camera would be really good right now. And then I will clean house, I promise.
October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment
I didn’t realize how many kinds of papers I was writing until today: research proposals, thesis papers, conceptual frameworks, dissertation chapters, research questions, thought papers. All these papers have different ways of approaching the writing process. I kept looking for a one size fits all approach and it isn’t going to work that way. That becomes the topic of the work, what is the topic, what is the genre? Same ideas apply to a drawing or a painting. If I am going to paint a flower arrangement, what paints am I going to use? Am I going to use white? Or just a white background? Do I research the right to add white later to highlight areas that got lost during the painting process? How many colors am I using? Is it monochromatic? Or am I providing an approximation of local color? I am excited to jump into writing, using this approach. The other thing I just discovered is that Inspiration has a freehand drawing function. So I have everything I need in that software application to continue developing my ideas. As I learned from my discussion with Matt on the drive to Portland, writing out the sentences and paragraphs is the last thing I should be doing. Long before I settle down to that part, I want to have my topics, sub-topics, arguments, and author quotes ready. I have been trying to accomplish too much in the writing itself. No. That is where I think my inspiration files are going to take on new significance. One thing I haven’t sorted out. I have these notes from Berger and Luckmann in my notebook. I made them reading on the bus, something I pretty much have to do. The point is, that the reading process includes putting pen to paper for the reading. After that, I have to transcribe those notes and the relevant quotes. It is the only way I am going to get the content chunks into my computer so I can organize and sort things for writing. Where do I put those pieces? That is another good question. Emails with attachments? Here in this blog sorted by categories? Oh. Yes, I think that is it. The text becomes searchable, and it is stored where I can always find it. These journal postings, these random thoughts, these free-writing sessions could all be categorized as free-writing. That could be the default category. Then, when I am working with a specific text, that gets it’s own category. When the texts come in as pdf files, I can use scrivener and put the screen captures of text into a file for that particular text. That way, when I name the file by the author and year, it can be easily catelogued beside the .pdf. Which is recorded in Endnote. That would be the best way to do it. For sure, then when I am looking for something, they come up in file searches on my computer. It’s a good question and I am ready to put my files into a new order to prepare for this next phase.
October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment
It is a nice little Nikon coolpix L18, very small, fairly lightweight. It fits in my belly pack. I’ve shot the flower arrangements and I am pleased with the photo quality. I’ve started looking at everything as metaphors for papers. I’m liking my new perspective. I put together a conceptual framework for the Tools for Thought paper and sent it off to Don. Of course, he wrote back asking me for the dreaded purpose statement. Well, I’m not going to get suckered into that wrestling match again. I’m going to set up a structure and start plunking things in, when I feel ready, then I will write the, “In this paper we will…” statement. Honestly, I don’t know what the purpose of the paper is yet, I want to lay it out a little more thoroughly before attempting that. This has been my mistake before. Trying to write that purpose statement when I really didn’t have a clue. When I think about the use of the term ‘tool’, I don’t have to venture far before I encounter a memory or a blog posting that uses the term to represent something. I think, what I need to do now, is start scanning media and scholarly references for uses of the term. Just what are we calling a tool, anyway? I’m hoping my speech recognition software arrives this week, so I can start using it in my writing. I think it is going to help. That and my studio practice, creating metaphors for writing research and thesis papers.