Hopefully your research digging is not just one long tunnel, but one with many branches, open doors, and lots of warm light.

In last week’s discussion session from the DML Conference we heard Kim Jaxon describe how the thesis process was not a step wise progression from topic to question to problem, that they are all being reworked, refined in some kind of complex feedback loop. So even if yours is not full formed, I can see from what your are doing that it is moving in the right direction.

I’m looking forward to hearing how your research is progressing, how your experience with talking to a research librarian went.

This week I am inviting a special guest to sit in on our seminar. Barbara Ganley was a writing professor at Middlebury College and innovator in teaching with media, digital writing and storytelling. She’s a published writer, and can share much experience. examples of her students works, and suggestions for your projects.

You will get a lot out Barbara, I am sure. She will be tuning in from her home in Vermont. For a preview, here is a conversation I had with her in 2014:

We really thank Barbara for bringing her experience and enthusiasm to the Kean students. One of her questions was for the students to envision their May graduation, and looking back on the thesis, answering, “What did I learn?” She encourage them to be as original and audacious as possible, and working in many different ways to describe their work (describe in 8 words, in 4 images) and if unsure exactly of the approach, to just start experimenting and then change if needed.

Here are the examples she shared…

Other writers pushing through old constraints of form (I have many other examples):
  • Joann Beard  Boys of My Youth (pushes memoir to a whole new place) — lyric poetry disguised as essay
  • Robert Coover
  • Borges
  • Anne Carson
  • Italo Calvino (If on a Winter’s Night….<– Every chapter starts exactly the same way).
  • Cortazar
  • Ali Smith
  • Claudine Rankine
  • Nabokov
  • David Foster Wallace
If you’re interested in new forms of the essay, John D’Agata edited the excellent anthology The Next American Essay 
Work by my students:

Start a One Pager

I want each student to start some writing outside the blog, by a first draft at a “one pager” document that describes your project, goals, methodologies, importance, all the things we have been talking about. It will not be complete now, but this is a document that I will ask you to keep revising. It’s history will show the evolution of your idea.

Please create this in Google Docs. I want you to share it me, but not as an editor, only so I can add comments (set via the Share blue button top right):

Share your one pager document with me, permissions to comment. Thanks!

Sign Up For Katexic

I encourage you to sign up for Chris Lott’s katexic clippings newsletter:

is a (now) weekly email newsletter for bookworms, word nerds and the incurably curious. In each issue: WORK: a concise, compelling work or excerpt; WORD(S): a wonderful word or fascinating phrase; WEB: a bijou suite of links; WATCH/WITNESS: a video, map, painting, picture, animation or other visual; WHAT!?: an unclassifiable curiosity

Try it out for a month and I almost bet you find at least one interesting thing you might not find elsewhere.


Featured Image: Pixabay photo by Eliens shared into the public domain using Creative Commons CC0