Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Hm. It has been so long since I posted on this blog that Blogger changed the editing screen on me. Tells you something, doesn't it?

I just wanted to update anybody who might be wondering what I've been up to. I finished the catalysis chapter! I was all ready to post it about two weeks ago, but then I took a good look at what I have written so far. I realized it would be silly to put up another chapter without fixing all the "to be completed" bits in the previous chapters. So I've been going through and fixing things, including making sure every chapter has nice textbook-style end matter: summary, questions for discussion, activities, references cited, annotated recommendations for further reading. Nice and clean. Also, I'm fixing up all the places where I say "see page xx" where the "xx" means "put in some way to link pages later." Later is now.

With the catalysis chapter, I have finished 15 chapters out of an expected 22. It's mostly downhill from here. The hardest chapters have been written, and for what remains (sensemaking, intervention, and return, basic and advanced, plus the rest of the case studies) I have lots of notes to work from. The basic intervention chapter will consist of three excellent interviews with colleagues who know more about the use of narratives in that sphere than I do. (If you are one of those three colleagues: thanks so much for your help, sorry it has taken so long to get your stuff in the book, and I still promise to send you what you said so you can check it before it goes in!)

The catalysis chapter did take forever, but lots of other things have been going on that have slowed things down. My husband took on a new job that reduces my time flexibility somewhat. I've been working half time since 2003, but now it's even more half-time than the half-time it was before. Our family's homeschooling journey has been ramping up in ambition and scope as my son gets older. Also, our two very old dogs are going through their last few months with us, and our house has been transformed into a 24/7 dog hostel as we see our friends through to the end of their days.

So when will the book be done? When it's done, I guess. I've had this fantasy of showing up at the family Christmas party with real, physical copies of the book to give to my family members ... for the past three Christmases. Maybe I'll make it this year. I hope people can get some benefit out of the book even in its incomplete state, which is partly why I decided to clean up what I have before I write the rest of the chapters.

Why haven't I been writing in the blog? I've been kind of pondering whether I should still have a blog. I started the blog to write the book. (And I don't know why ... she swallowed the fly.) The blog has helped the book, but the blog has hurt the book too. Now maybe it's time for the blog and the book to part company. When the book is done the blog will have no stated reason to exist, so why continue it?

Another thing is, having a blog can be a pain. Every thing that happens you think: good blog material? Just a few mornings ago I woke up from a bad dream. In the dream I was at a conference somewhere, and I had been asked to give a talk on "Learning How To Learn." I sparkled, I engaged, I inspired. I had no idea what I was talking about. Then I woke up from the dream, and instantly a thought sprung into my head: good blog material? And then: stop doing that! Life is life, not blog material!

Another thing is, I've done a lot of opining in the blog. I didn't start the blog intending to opine, but the opinions kept sneaking in anyway. I don't think I like that. If I want to write an opinion blog I should start a different blog. I should call it "The Hand-Wringing Declinist" or "The Decline and Fall of the Way Things Were When I Was a Kid." That sort of place would be the right place to tell people the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, instead of sneaking in "and wouldn't you know, this is all about stories!" into each post. Then when I think of starting an opinion blog I think: let's not and say we did.

Whadya think?