Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Who knew miracles come in pairs?

Two minor revolutions erupted in Hobbit House today:

1. The folder marked "18th Cen Ag Writing .pdfs + searches" is empty.

In the last 13 months, I've read almost 20,000 pages of agricutural writing published between 1796 and 1810. Every page of every book that mentioned the English Board of Agriculture has either passed through that folder or across my computer screen. I've compiled a relational database of almost 1,000 entries and spent about 1,800 hours poring through pamphlets about manure and haystacks, looking for ideological needles. It's been the single most challenging academic, professional, intellectual, and laboring effort of my life.

What was to be one chapter of a book may now constitute an entire book unto itself. I'll still write the dissertation version of the chapter, but I have enough material to make some substantial and new claims about the ideological productions of the Romantic period. Holy crap. I'm so glad to be done.

2. I dragged my fat ass out of bed at 6:00 AM and completed a difficult interval workout on the trainer, and I had enough time left over to get the girls out of bed and off to school on time. Now I have 6 hours of interrupted writing time before I have to pick them up.

Honestly, I feel like a page has been turned. A burden lifted. Now I just have to write the damn thing. Then, I get to send it off to the committee and start thinking again about Wordsworth's poetry.

THAT will be a homecoming.
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