This past week I took the week off to work on my dissertation–more like a “staycation” than a real vacation. Or perhaps I should call it a “dissercation,” to coin a really ugly word. It like the way it has hints of “diss” words (dissatisfied, diservice, dissipate, dissonance) on one end and of “altercation” on the other. In any case, it was cage match with me and the dissertation, and I put it to the mat until it begged for mercy. I talked a lot of smack and made sure it knew that things are different now. It’s had the run of my life for too many years, but now it knows its days are numbered.
By the end of the week, I came away with drafts of four out of five chapters, and I feel good about the progress. I still have a ways to go to pull together a full draft by the end of the summer, but I now feel more confident it will happen.
It was easier to focus for the week because I got a good weekend of hiking in with Cathy beforehand. We hiked Mt. Washington and stayed over night at the Lakes of the Clouds AMC hut about an hour hike from the summit.
As alway happens when we hike, it rained. We hiked in the rain almost the entire way up Tuckerman’s Ravine and the last scramble to the summit was a cold mix of rain and wind. On the top, we couldn’t see more than 50 feet in any direction, so we just enjoyed the the chance to warm up and eat some chili before heading down to the hut.
But it was still great to get a taste of Mt. Washington (my first time) and I look forward to the views next time around.
It seems like a long time ago that I first ran across the Ecotone Wiki and was first exposed to the notion of place blogging, a topic compelling enough to keep me slogging away on this dissertation for quite some time. I’ve enjoyed spending time with the folks involved in the wiki, reading their blogs, corresponding in comments and emails, and occasionally enjoying a breakfast in Bodega Bay or Cambridge. The dissertation will be dedicated to them, of course, if it gets done, but until that happens, I at least want to give them a little down payment: in the course of my research I’ve managed to collect all the posts from Ecotone and put them into a single document, and I’m attaching it here for download if anyone is interested. It’s an unedited archive of all the posts and comments from June 2003 to January 2005. There’s also an online version here.
Chris Corrigan first propose the form of the Bi-weekly topics back in May of 2003, and at that time he envisioned a book coming out of it:
“So my proposal is this:
We take on a topic (15th is a good date to start) and whoever wants to blogs on that topic. We also post those entries at a page on the wiki and invite anyone who wants to in the wide world to join us for further discussion here. Then the conversation can continue here as long as it needs to.
After a year, we publish the book.
So I’m going to go to the front page and set up the space now, okay?
The attached file isn’t yet a book, but there a lot of fine material there for anyone interested in taking a look back at this fruitful period of place-based writing.
Download PDF of Bi-Weekly Topic Archive (9MB)
This evening as I was trying to decide what to submit to the 2004 Computers and Writing Conference (since the deadline is this week), I ran across a great wiki on place-based blogging called “Ecotone:” Writing about Place.” Now that I know that there is as least this community, I’m inspired me to kickstart this weblog and continue my investigation into the genre of place-based blogging. Skimming through the site led me on a breathless scurry through numerous related sites and now I’m looking forward to exploring them more. But for the moment, I’m tired of being in front of the computer and since I’m feeling like going out for a walk, I know that Ecotone is the kind of site I’ve been looking for.