Monday, February 14, 2011

Highlights of the Week

Last night I had the pleasure of reading this week's additions to the thesis blogs. I say pleasure because there were many of them that showed good progress. Just a couple of what felt to me like highlights:

Leah reports that she sent off her application to work this summer at a Georgia aquarium that houses whalesharks. Obviously the kind of work that will lead to a good thesis and, in Leah's case, to a potential dilemma: what if she has to decide between two internships? My comment was that her kind of dilemma is a sure sign of progress.

Drew writes that he has an actual event -- for next Halloween -- to plan. That's a remarkable step from vague potential.

Van has moved in the last couple of posts in his thinking about insanity/film/reification to rethink the three sections of his thesis, dropping one for the time being and adding another that came up while talking with a friend. What the posts show is the productive fluidity that comes to a project as we have lots of information, lots of ideas, lots of possibilities and let them work in us, let them ferment, let them find a good form.

And there were quite a few other posts that showed good progress. There were also a couple that felt like posts for the purpose of posting. Make progress, week by week, and you'll have something you can be really proud of.

By the way, there have been quite a few really good comments. Keep helping each other with good questions and suggestions. I like the feel of this.

A final note about the photo. I'm working, with Lyn Bennett, on a book about the construction of meaning of barbed wire. We just heard from the American Quarterly that they need two more months to evaluate the article we submitted about late-nineteenth-century advertising of the new invention (they've had it since August!). In the meantime, however, we're writing about barbed wire in literature. Lyn found, just this week, a couple of very interesting references to barbed wire in Steinbeck's novel Grapes of Wrath. So while we wait, we keep working, keep writing, keep collecting. The photo is from yesterday morning, an attempt to use the snow and the early morning light to highlight what's really a difficult thing to portray. Spenser and others of you who are good photographers could do this better and more easily; but I'm left to try lots of times and hope to get lucky.

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