Major progress on the book front!
I have now conducted seven interviews – three tapestry artists, three metal workers, and a bead embroidery teacher. Five more are scheduled in the coming week, and six other artisans have agreed to an interview but haven’t been scheduled yet.
This is keeping me quite busy, as you can probably imagine. Each interview takes about four hours total – which may sound surprising considering an interview only lasts an hour! But it takes time to schedule the interview, and then I usually spend an hour or two (at least!) preparing for the interview – reading up on the interviewee, watching video clips, and looking at their work online. The interview itself lasts an hour, and it usually takes me another hour to review the transcript, annotate it, and tag/organize the annotations for later use.
So seven interviews in ten days is a LOT! That is almost thirty hours – basically all my spare time away from the “day job”. I’ve just barely been able to keep up. But I’m getting a ton of good material, and it is a privilege to talk to so many stellar artists. I’m just hoping I can make the book worthy of their time!
I am also making progress on tools and infrastructure. In my copious free time between interviews 😉 , I’ve been setting up the tools I’ll need to annotate the interviews, organize my notes, and outline the chapters. I’m using Docear, a program intended for academics who need to organize tons of research papers along with their notes on same. I’m really liking it. I start by annotating each interview transcript, adding comments and notes to the .pdf. Docear keeps an eye on the folder with the transcripts in it, and automatically imports the pdf and all the annotations into my Interviews file. It then displays the annotations as a mindmap.
After all my transcript notes are imported into Docear, I can go back and tag them, filter on the tags, etc. So, for example, if I want to find all the examples of how people use color, I just apply the “example” and “color” filters, and presto! I have the notes I want. With thirty interviews, being able to find the right material is important.
The other really nice thing about Docear is that clicking on a note opens up the transcript file at the exact location of the note. So if I want to know exactly what Archie Brennan said about color, I can click on my shorthand note to jump to the transcript, where I can read his exact words.
(A shout out to my friend and fellow weaver, Laura Fry – she is transcribing the interviews for me, and doing a marvelous job with the transcriptions. There is no way I’d be able to transcribe the interviews myself, so I am very grateful for her help.)
So most of my time has been spent conducting interviews and figuring out how to organize and access the information from them.
I have also laid out a tentative schedule for the book:
- October: conduct the bulk of the interviews, ideally 25 or so.
- November: conduct fill-in interviews, to fill in any topics not covered in October’s interviews.
- December through April: write the first draft of the book
- May through July: get reader input and revise, revise, revise. Also tie up loose ends: photos, release forms, sending chapters out to be reviewed by interviewees, etc. Identify marketing possibilities and communicate them to publisher. (Etc. – lots of etc.)
- August 1: turn in finished book
That is a pretty ambitious schedule. In particular, I am not sure I can finish the first draft by the end of April, so I’m considering doing a writing retreat in early April, spending 2-3 weeks focusing on finishing the first draft. Hopefully I won’t need to, but it’s nice to have that option in my back pocket. As a project manager, I like having a backup plan.
Speaking of project management, the work world seems to be trying to drown me in good fortune. (Not that I am complaining, mind you!) I’ve just gotten my new project assignment at work, and it’s a wonderful one. While I can’t share the details with you, I’m basically going to be program managing the major project coming out of my division over the next year and a half. It’s a really high-profile project and will be a major feather in my cap when it launches. More importantly, it’s going to be a really interesting project, and I’m very much looking forward to it. I am a bit worried about it competing with the book, but their finish dates are spaced widely apart, so I think it will work.
In weaving-land, I have cut off and begun re-sleying the warp for the shadow weave project. I am taking it from 80 to 72 ends per inch. Mike was also nice enough to repair my knitting machine motor for me, replacing two capacitors and a resistor. Here’s what the motor circuit board looked like when he started:
You can see the big empty cylinder in the center – that’s the dead capacitor, which caught on fire, blew its contents into the rest of the motor (we had to pick out a ton of little papery bits), and deposited the big burned streak on the board.
And here’s how the board looked after Mike was done working:
Good as new!
So now the knitting machine motor works, but I need to re-sley the warp before I can begin weaving again. So I won’t be knitting up another blank for awhile.
Mike and I have also removed the built-in loom bench on the AVL. It really wasn’t working for me, so I’m going to try standing while weaving. Mike helped me build a little loom platform to stand on – can’t wait to try it!
All this work is pretty exhausting. So exhausting, in fact, that just watching it makes Fritz sleepy. Here he is, letting out one enormous yawn:
If I didn’t know him so well, I’d be terrified of all those teeth! But despite the ferocious fangs, he’s really just a cuddly teddy bear. Well, teddy cat, maybe. 🙂