Committing to a few projects

It seems to help me move new projects from the “maybe” stage in my head (a.k.a. the “brain crack” stage, to borrow Ze Frank’s unforgettable terminology) to the “out into the world” stage if I say, in public, that I’m going to do them. This doesn’t always work — my NoNaShoStoWriMo project fizzled out, for example — but it’s a pretty good way to hold myself accountable. And what better place to say things in public than here?

So here are three projects to which I want to make a commitment. The first two are underway already, in fits and starts, and the third is still mostly at the brain crack stage. I don’t guarantee that any of them are going to be done anytime soon, seeing as they’re all going to have to happen in my non-working hours; but I’m putting them up here as a pledge to myself to at least try to make them happen. Even if it takes me years to get there. Even if none of them work out in the end.

  1. The commonplace book project is, I think, going to be a book someday: a book about 19th-century poetry reading practices, about memorization, about the idea of the canon, about poems as (and on) physical objects, about probably a dozen other things as well. I’ve accumulated a ton of notes from my forays into special collections libraries, and I’ve been building a database of the poems I’ve found in the commonplace books I’ve looked at. And every time I think about this project, it grows in scope. I remember this feeling from when I wrote my dissertation: the “whoa, this baggy monster might actually be a book” feeling, both daunting and exhilarating.
  2. I keep having ideas for short stories, mostly in a genre that’s not quite fantasy, not quite ghost story, not quite horror, not quite science fiction; I think of them as weird fiction set in the digital age. And, what’s more, I’ve actually started writing them down. And lately they’ve been starting to seem like they could be a collection, though if I were to try to publish them I’d send them out separately first.
  3. Remember my knitting with Gerard Manley Hopkins idea? I’ve been working on a couple of those pattern ideas. (I’m pretty excited about this one in particular.) And I thought, why stop there? Why not a whole series of knitted things named after and inspired by favorite poems? Thanks to Ravelry, it’s become easier and easier to get help with the mechanics of charting and editing patterns, and find test knitters, and distribute patterns online, and really, why not? Why not?

I’ll try to blog about these projects as they happen, too. Otherwise there’s too much risk of getting hooked on my own brain crack.

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