In my last post, I talked a little bit about where I was in the grief process, especially as it related to research. There’s no real getting out of loss, but I’m happy to say that I am successfully post-post-post process: exams done, prospectus done, IRB submitted. I have several presentations coming up that feature various aspects of my research, and I’m trying out some new ideas re: adaptive reuse of textile factories here in North Carolina.
A part of me wonders where all this energy is coming from; another part of me recognizes it as a reorientation towards tracing – being traced upon vs. doing the tracing. I have listened to my grief, followed it to places in my research I never imagined I would have gone: hives as Makerspaces and the sociology of bees, first-person video-ethnographic methods, and even back to my roots with textile communities and the co-operative extension offices. I think this is what I was trying to get at in my last post: the hope that I would actually do something with loss, that I would use it to my advantage. And to do this in my family’s name, to give back to my community, to tie myself more closely to research that will benefit my own. I find myself asking often: what has happened to me, and where is it leading me? What path has been cleared for me? What paths were always already there, that are now more visible because loss has prompted this reattunement?
So, now begins the process of writing a dissertation. I cannot even begin to describe what it feels like to learn to write again, even as I’m explicitly showing my students how to read scholarly articles, how to produce outlines, how to put your butt in the chair and build ideas through writing. It’s difficult, but it also makes me appreciate just how lucky I am to have a job that allows me to reflect on and reinvent my own processes.
The plan: start with the Methods chapter, gather data at the farm through May, get IRB approval and do necessary revisions, and make more stuff. Goals: convince the department to buy me a digital embroidery machine, make patches for all my friends, and get to the point where I don’t cry when watching dad’s videos of the hive. It’s really something to watch him, in hindsight, to see how he took care, talked to himself, talked to “the girls.” I think we all have these moments when we’re making: we pause, we change direction, we attune to the environment, we say things to no one in particular. Over the next few months, I’ll learn these same processes, we’ll get new queens, we’ll walk the same paths through the woods. Always making, always learning.