Monday, November 23, 2009

Could it be, that I...

...have a dormant blog?

Perish the thought.

I'm a bundle of nerves this morning about the bundle of nerves that's peeking through where a shell of a wisdom tooth sits. It'll be gone in a couple of hours, I think. Blogging seems like a productive alternative to fretting, or at least--neutrally speaking--a more public venue for it.

I've been reading much more than I've been writing, and I've actually tried a novel experiment lately: drafting, outlining, redrafting, editing, re-outlining, etc. It's foreign to my thought process, but what the method lacks in "AHA, I've got it!" brilliance, it gains in cogency and slow/steady progress.

Last weekend, I went to the American Musicological Society conference in Philadelphia. This was my first AMS, and a wrap-up seems redundant--if you're interested in the AMS conference, you've probably already read Dial M or something like that on it, or you were there--because conference wrap-up blog-posts are a fairly predictable genre on the whole. I should have dealt with my dental issues beforehand, because I had a frankly miserable time for non-professional reasons. Professionally, I had a two-sided realization: 1) There are many smart people doing many smart things; and 2) I can do that. I mean, not the hardcore 13th century stuff, I definitely couldn't do that, but there were many papers where I realized, "Hey, I could have thought that up, researched it, and made a handout for it during that slow week I had in August."

The key, though, is that I didn't and they did, and so I should and I will. Even though I have three papers in the pipeline for coursework this semester--a medieval music literature review that I've mostly done, a meat-and-potatoes analysis of Mozart's C-minor fantasie, and a gendered reading of Cherubini's Medea that seems to write itself--I started putting down the gritty sourcework for a Randy Newman paper that will have many moving parts but move headlong from musical elements to the entire Superstructure. Trust me. I begin by discussing this Norman Mailer book that I bought the week it came out, because it was already an artifact, and I trusted it would be history pretty soon. When I finish this paper (Christmas, hopefully?), you will never look at George Harrison the same way again--I hope, at least. I take a side trip in the musical style of Roger Waters as well, with the literary offerings of Gore Vidal and--I'm debating, should I even touch Chomsky? that's a recipe for an exploding project--a few Marxisms du jour. I trace a particular curmudgeonly strain through the essays and musical stylings of ca. 1973- ca. 2008.

To sum up: I had been trying to be groundbreaking in seminar papers all throughout graduate school, and to churn out pro forma extra-curricular work. I've since decided to reverse my MO, and not lose too much sleep over trying to turn logic over its head when I should just be getting a clear handle on different historical periods for the purposes of teaching.

Now I have an appointment with an oral surgeon. Yikes!

1 comment:

Stefan Kac said...

I think we'd all do well to read more than we write, listen more than we compose, practice more than we perform, research more than we publish, or whatever. A dormant blog is a lesser evil than a sprawling, vacuous one. Anyway, good luck with your dental issues. I've had a my share of those; sucks for brass players, but it happens.

Nice template, by the way.