Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Le brouillon, c'est finis

OK, so I had to look up the translation of "Draft," so "brouillon" may not be the right word, but somehow, the declaration seemed more triumphant than it might have otherwise.

The point is, the draft of the essay is done. Willow will edit it at the sentence level (a particular benefit of being married to an avowed prose stylist), and I will clean up the citations, but the heavy lifting on the piece is done.

The unique challenge of this essay (though hardly the only one) was that a short section of it (about 4 pages) overlapped significantly with an argument I've already published. I didn't want to omit the argument entirely, since the rest of the essay benefited from it immensely, and while the sub-claims were quite similar, the overall point was different entirely. So I found myself in the position of having to quote my own work, an exercise that very much put me in the shoes of my students. That is, knowing that what I had to say had already been said, how to say it differently? Certainly some direct quotation happened, and a bit of paraphrase, but three of those pages were among the most difficult I've had to write. The ethical stakes of quotation were different, but the writing task itself reminded me to have a specific kind of sympathy for students who are in the early stages of writing with research...

Anyway, it was not easy, but the draft (if not the project) is done.


Anonymous said...

brouillon is correct. but "le brouillon, c'est fini." :-D

pocha23 said...

Often I find myself telling my students that I "feel their pain" as I, too, am struggling with conclusions, introductions, "so whats?" and so on. Teaching is learning, even this far into my job.

Congrats on being done.