It's a well-know phenomenon: the way that, when you're deeply engrossed in one project, everything you do and read and encounter suddenly seems totally relevant. And indeed, nearly everything I read within my field this summer--no matter how far outside my subfield--got fringed with Post-It flags and incorporated as citations or sometimes entirely new paragraphs within my manuscript.
But as the summer wore on, I kept having that tingly feeling that I was encountering super-important, majorly relevant stuff . . . even when whatever I was reading or watching or doing had no possible connection to my book.
And so perhaps my real project this summer wasn't the book so much as a personally and intellectually coherent life, one in which everything felt connected in meaningful ways (though I'm not sure I can articulate all of them).
Forthwith, then, the stuff what I done this summer:
Revised two MS chapters and began minor/cosmetic changes to two moreOther stuff read
Came up with a new title and organizing principle for the book, as well as a new way to frame its topic
Read two recent books and wrote a single book review (vastly late, but whatever)
Reviewed one book MS for a publisher
Read a new book in my field that I was afraid might overlap too much with mine (it doesn't)
Got a contract for an edition I'm co-editing
Two chapters of Cosimo's book (and he read one of mine in return)Stuff seen
Four chapters of my scholarly LTR's manuscript (and he read some of mine)
A couple of friends' essays- or chapters-in-progress
Calvin Trillin, Remembering Denny
Richard Russo, Empire Falls
The book for RU's summer reading program
A friend's recently-published novel
François Cusset, French Theory
Eve Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet
Fredric Jameson, Political Unconscious
The Odyssey (audiobook)
The Aeneid (audiobook)
Months and months' worth of back issues of The New Yorker and Commonweal
A couple of seasons of The Tudors and one of Mad MenStuff done
Productions of Coriolanus and Fences
Evey and her band rocking the farmers' market
(500) Days of Summer, The Hangover, Julie & Julia, Summer Hours, Theodora Goes Wild, The Apartment, Madam Satan, Z
Taught a summer class (and put the money toward my credit card debt)My classes start tomorrow. I'm not remotely ready. But boy, was it a glorious summer.
Attended two weddings
Went to California twice, first to see my grandmother and then for her memorial service
Spent a week in New England
Met Cosimo's family, as he met mine
Adopted a second cat
Ate and drank and ate and drank on deck after sidewalk after patio
Had one of my closest friends move away
Saw old friends in Boston and New York--and ended the summer with a long lovely visit from Bert this past weekend.