People with wax heads should stay out of the sun

An eventful day, in a wax head sort of way. I presented my paper on A Journal of the Plague Year tonight. It still feels like a draft, but I received a good bit of encouragement. It seems that according to Dr. Anderson there may be a niche for getting it published; he didn’t say where, but I suspect it’s Literature and Medicine (he is the editor). Now I can sit on pins and needles until he reads the massive tome. I know it needs to be both narrowed, and expanded at the same time. But I just had to stop somewhere and get it out of my system. I’ve only been researching it for the last four months. If he thinks it’s publishable, I have the summer to work on refining it. I’ve still got a paper on Yeats that another editor said he would publish, if I can only get the time to work on it some more… I’m headed into strange terrain, and rather rapidly at that.

I also found out tonight what one of my fall classes is all about. It’s one that I signed up for, for lack of anything better to choose from. It is a special topics course on expository writing, which I chose largely because Dr. Anderson is teaching it. He’s “theory friendly,” which isn’t always the case with writing professors. I’m more interested in figuring out how things work than writing a novel or anything like it. Uh oh. I may have signed up for more than I bargained for. The course is on extended non-fiction. The product of the class will be a text which will be at minimum, fifty pages, and will involve reading a pile of non-fiction book length works. Little did I know that I was signing up for, in effect, “how to write a book.” I suppose it’s about time. I’ve stayed away from that, largely because I don’t feel prepared enough just yet, but with a thesis impending in the spring I suppose I might as well go through with it.

The department has been moving away from the conventional masters thesis, and into accepting extended non-fiction projects. I don’t want to do that, I’d rather do a conventional thesis because I do want to enter a Ph.D. program, and figure the practice will be good for me. Dr. Anderson suggested that it would be possible to take the product of that class and feed it into a project, but I don’t think I want to do that. Instead, being the horrible wax fountain of ideas that I am, I came up with an long-form idea I’d really like to write.

I’d like to write something about photography, using an approach similar to Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, but about the process of change I went through as I explored the techniques and products of infrared photography. Sort of part theory, part ethnography, and part memoir. It was a big deal for me, and my forays into language philosophy have deepened my understanding of the experience. It may be time to write about it. I’m not sure, but tonight it sounds like a good idea.