So, as I said in my last post, the Time Crunch is here. Finding time to write will be difficult. Therefore, it’s time to make adjustments.
What I find so far in my new schedule is that I have snippets of time—a half hour here, forty-five minutes there—in which I can do something. That includes minor time at work, before and after being “on the clock,” but also some time in the evenings. I may have 30 minutes before we watch a webinar, or a similar amount of time after a conference call with our mentor. How do I fill that time?
To work on the formatting of Father Daughter Day I would have to go to The Dungeon and work on the computer there. That would be the same for the formatting of my next Thomas Carlyle book (which I’ve never posted about in detail; must put it on the schedule to do so). If I want to sit upstairs next to Lynda rather than abandon her, I need to find something to do with my Nook tablet, or even with paper books.
For the moment, I’ve found the solution. For my Carlyle book on his book Chartism, my intention is to add excerpts from some of his letters. In pursuit of that I’ve skimmed/half read his letters from 1838-1839 and a little into 1840, looking for those references. I could finish 1840. I’m writing notes on paper, and someday, after the Time Crunch, will be able to use those notes to go back to the right letters, pull the excerpts, and dump them into the Word document on the computer in The Dungeon. Or maybe, by that time, we’ll have a second laptop and I’ll be able to work upstairs.
But, I’m using Carlyle’s letters for a second project, a chronological bibliography of his works based on date of writing rather than date of publication. I can’t remember if I’ve ever written about this before on this blog. Two older bibliographies of his works are arrange based on publication date. Another partial bibliography of his early works is by date. It was published as a short magazine article, and doesn’t give much information as to why the writer places certain things where he does. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a great partial bibliography, and I’ll certainly incorporate his findings and conclusions in mine, but it’s somewhat short compared to what I’d like to see. And, of course, it’s only a partial.
I’d like to do a full one, with plenty of references. I’d like to include a list of Carlyle’s letters interspersed with the other works, to show researchers/scholars what exactly he was working on at different times. I started on this some years ago, long before I found the published bibliographies. This past spring I went back to it. I decided on a format, and spent some time placing Carlyle’s works in an order, starting at the beginning, coordinating the four published bibliographies (including the very incomplete earliest and the partial), and making some good progress.
It was a bigger job than I realized, but I was actually pleased with it when, sometime around March or April, I laid it aside in favor of other writing tasks. But during the Time Crunch, I realized I could easily access the Carlyle Letters Online in the snippets of time I had, skim them for references to his works, and write paper notes about what I find. Having a printout of the bibliography as it currently stands, I can handwrite edits. At work, where the electronic file resides at present, when not on the clock I can type the edits.
So, the last three or four evenings I’ve been doing just that. Actually, I started it last week. I’m making progress. I have several pages of notes about the letters and references therein to Carlyle’s writings, nicely organized to be savable, retrievable, and searchable. Right now I’m in 1822. Since he lived till 1881 I still have a long ways to go, but that’s okay. My immediate goal is to get through 1825, at the time when Carlyle began publishing book-length translations with commentary. I’d like to settle on an order of writings, complete with all references, correct any formatting problems I may have, and come to a resting point.
The next segment after that will be 1826-1833, about the time Carlyle finished what may be his best-known work, Sartor Resartus. After that, we’ll see. Perhaps I’ll tire of this and be ready for other snippets of work. Perhaps the Time Crunch will be over by then, and I can resume a more normal mix of activities, a mix that includes more writing time. That’s what I’m hoping for.