Monday, October 13, 2014

Making a Belt, Putting up Dry Wall, Writing an Article

My grandfathers: a carpenter and a belt maker. While I was not raised by them, I am grateful to somehow have learned from them a working class attitude about writing. My job is to write, and to write and finish projects, be they articles or books.

I cannot imagine my grandfathers worrying if their walls or belts would change the face of their disciplines. I am sure they did not worry about the internalized voices of their mentors, and if they did, they certainly were not paralyzed by them. Belt markers and carpenters are craftsmen (craftspeople); their job is to do their job well, and go onto the next job.

An article is a belt; an article is a wall. It is nothing more, and nothing less. It should be done well, competently, and with a sense of pride.

And then, it should be done, and we move on to the next one.

And as walls go up, houses go up. Articles are written, and careers are built. Wall plus wall plus wall equals house. Article plus article plus article equals career.

Nothing more, nothing less.


  1. What a nice thought. It reminds me of Heaney's view of the poet as a craftsman:

  2. I noticed that your pattern for posting and approving / replying to comments here on the blog has changed quite a bit during your sabbatical. Do you think that this is because you are absorbed in a particular project or because your routine has changed (be it the routine of a teaching schedule, or the routine of sitting down at your desk at particular times of the day)?

  3. Actually, it is a technical issue! In the past, when I want into the blogger "system," it showed me that comments were awaiting moderation. Now, I do not have that message, and have to go into the "comments awaiting moderation" section. If I forget to do so, I don;t see comments!!

  4. I so totally agree. Beyond composing there are still so many related things that can be done to move the document forward that I recommend creating a list of things to do for days when I am struggling with words on paper. Transition sentences, in-text references, formatting, figures, tables,...etc.