Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Not so much lately

I haven't been writing so much lately, at least not here. It's good to check in though, and I will continue to make the effort to have something to say here every day or so. I've been busy, which is good. I've been more productive lately. I'm still working on the distillation article from my dissertation. As I explained before it's becoming a lot more than simply editing down the dissertation.

I'm not sure I fully explained the sitation before, so I'll do that briefly now. While I was overseas doing mostly archival work on my dissertation, two volumes came out by a foundation press named for the central figure of my dissertation. It was a collection of his essays, letters, lecture notes, drafts, etc. many of which had not been published elsewhere. I purchased them then, and referenced them in my dissertation (and in a couple articles I published at the time). However, I principally used them as a resource for the original text of articles I was previously aware of, mostly having read them in translation.

In deciding to publish a distillation article from the disseration, I thought I ought to revisit these materials and go over some of the articles in the original, rather than relying on translations or basing my quotes on second-hand references from other articles. Last week, I thumbed through the first (and much larger) volume, to select out articles and such that I should read over. I knew of two, and thought there might be another 3 or 4 to read.

I was sorely mistaken! I came up with 25 different entries which I ought to have read, and be knowledgeable of, and possibly cite. Granted, there are perhaps only 5 or 10 other people in the world who will have read all of those articles. More now that the volumes have been published. But that's exactly the point. If I am an expert of this, I need to be an expert on it. Most of those who will have read those articles, don't publish in English.

I've been trudging my way through it all. I've gotten through the first two articles, translating large sections of them. I've also been writing my distillation article as I go along, citing from the articles, revising things I wrote before. All the while, I'm working on my other blog, which while seemingly unrelated to the topic of my dissertation, is research-oriented, close to my heart, and an area of research that I am working to develop into a larger part of my life, hopefully my professional life as well. So, I've been reading articles in this additional area of research as well.

My mother always told me that if only I would concentrate on one thing I would accomplish anything I wanted. Well, I've come to realize that I work best when the thing I focus on is deep beneath the surface, while all evidence points to a scattered mind. Synthesis is my forte, drawing diverse ideas together from seemingly unrelated fields, finding their erstwhile hidden links, and piecing these together.

We all must follow our paths. I think finishing the PhD was some accomplishment, and evidence that my path works for me. Now back to it... more reading, and translating, and writing. Oh yeah... and some job applications... and calls to set up servicing for the car... and registering the van... and scheduling a doctor's visit... and.... one thing at a time, eh?

No comments: