Some more words and reflections on how things are going with my work, my imagination and this learning.

Today is a structure day for the final essay in what I think I’ll look back on as ‘the first three’. The three I’ll have written over these three weeks or so while Christmas and the New Year have come and gone. There were some earlier ones, early in my history and sociology time here. ‘Assessments’ too, like these are also called. But ‘sketches’ is how I think of them now.

Sketches while I was getting going, during the early days of learning this craft of social science

While Christmas and New Year happened I’ve been mostly thinking, reading and writing. With two of the essays edited, fidgeted over and sent in now, I’ve been mostly working. One day out with Sarah and two mornings seeing friends. But mostly working.

I’ve mostly loved it too.

And learned a lot. About ideas like the anthropocene and utopias, ideas I’ll come back and write about on here. But also about structure, organisation and craft. About the craft of doing this kind of thing. Of getting the work done

Doing this kind of thing and accepting moments of not knowing, of seeming despair, of ‘what now’ or ‘I just don’t get this?’ Followed, as often as not, by the first glimmerings of ‘maybe this will help explain that?’

And then there’s the craft. The craft of files already set up, lists already got ready, organised stuff I’ve already organised. Then ‘do more reading’ when the lists and files run out and I’m still reaching for the right thing to write.

Then I start writing.

Writing being just one part of the craft, one part. A craft like others I’ve practised in my life. The most like this being the film-making Sarah and I once did so much of. This so much like that. Putting the footage, media and music into files within the editing software so much like like the reading, highlighting and sorting of the files for essays. All interviews viewed and transcribed, externals sorted and the film or the essay’s basic structure roughed out on a timeline. Then start, then improvise.

Which is where I’m aiming at today. To have done all the reading I can think of and be structured and ready to start. With just over a week to go before this one, the last of the first ones, needs to be sent in. All structured, filled in and edited, with titles and credits, citations and surprises I don’t yet know about. Then edited again. Crafted.

So, like I said the last time I wrote one of these university pieces, nearly four weeks back as I entered this writing place:

‘Arriving now, calm in the still early morning, I sit down, arrange my work around me, and begin.

I’m writing this down so I’ll remember.’

I want to remember the joy of this, much of it in the finishings! But also the love and the discoveries in the doing of it all. And also that it’s not all easy. This getting to grips with, the grounding and the discipline. This learning of the craft.

I’m getting there now though. I’m getting there.

‘The Tulips’ above by Sarah Horton.

Read more of my university writing here at ‘Fieldnotes for Utopia’.

Published by Ronnie Hughes

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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