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Rewrite

January 25, 2011

I arrived at the library this morning to a very full parking lot. I feared the worst, but strangely, there is no one here. Usually I can’t get my favorite table — the one next to an outlet with a view of the fireplace — unless I get here as soon as the library opens. But the adult floor, at least, is practically deserted. There must be some children’s programming going on upstairs. I love this library for its separation of children and adults. This is something I sometimes resented when I was a child. I felt like I was being excluded from something. But now I drive to this library because my local library is all in one big room and it is very, very noisy, even when, as now, I am drowning out ambient noise with Miriam Makeba singing in my headphones.

Today I am trying to complete the edit on the diss chapter on which my article is based. It’s been a strange process. I feel like I’ve been working backwards. When I extracted the article, it went through many rounds of editing (and there is likely at least one more coming before it goes to press). There have been many cuts and changes and many people have read it and advised me. It’s been a positive process and the article is much stronger for it. When I sat down to rework the diss chapter with the article in hand, I thought it was going to be a straightforward replacement of old text with new. But as it turns out, I’ve had to put back a lot of the stuff I excised from the article because that stuff is important for what I’m doing in the larger project. The chapter is now a strange hybrid creature – a chimera – and I’m having trouble getting it to behave like a regular chapter.

Should I be concerned that I’m starting to think of my chapters as creatures with minds of their own? I’m choosing to view it as a good sign, as a sign that I’m separating myself from them and am ready to let them go.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. readersguide permalink
    January 25, 2011 1:27 pm

    I think it’s a good sign —

  2. freshhell permalink
    January 25, 2011 2:30 pm

    They do take on a life of their own. Mine get impatient when I don’t properly tend to them.

    Our public libraries are all one big room which isn’t conducive to thought or writing or much of anything other than checking out books. I go when I know the college library will be worse and the children fewer.

  3. January 26, 2011 8:26 am

    My chapters never developed minds of their own. Of course, that could be because they were all about one guy making fun of another. If that sort of chapter developed a mind of its own, it would be like nothing so much as a kind of crazy assassin. So it’s just as well. Glad to hear you’re doing something more constructive.

  4. crankygirl permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:02 pm

    Whatever your advisor says. (You can see why I am not cut out for a PhD.)

  5. January 26, 2011 12:37 pm

    Actually, Cranky, I think that’s a sign that you’re better cut out for a Ph.D. than I.

  6. crankygirl permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:49 pm

    Somehow, I knew you would say that. But, I disagree.

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