The Blue Raccoon

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Never-Ending Term Paper
I'm writing a book by Monday, if I don't collapse first

[Image: This is my office during the project. No, but, in truth it is photographer Walead Beshty composition, Dismal Science Reading Room, from June 7, 2006, Wit of the Staircase]

Billion-eyed audience, come on in my friends, to the term paper that never ends, come inside, come inside...

I'm not posting because I don't love yall, or that my neurotic need to inflict my...whatever...experience on anybody who happens to pass by here. But I'm trying to finish a book: Ragtime In Richmond: Socialists, Suffragists, Sex and Murder (1910-1911) for the History Press. It's past due. For the past several months, I've been looking at pages that look quite a bit like this:

This is an excerpt from the December 26, 1910 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, with an account of the fire that destroyed the north wing of the imposing Italianate pile called Ryland Hall, between Ryland and Lombardy streets. Most of the students were away, but 24 were still on campus, and 13 in the dorm rooms in that wing. Four fraternities had rooms on the fourth floor of the building, and something seems to have happened that ignited a fire around 4 a.m. Engine Company #10, just a block away, responded. (This is now the Firehouse Theater). But they had difficult setting up their ladder truck. There was general alarm. And a mummy. But you'll have to read about that in the book, or one account, here.

While I'm at it, I need to give a shout out to the Library of Congress Chronicling America project. This grand effort unites digital preservation efforts nation wide of newspapers during the the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Times-Dispatch of 1909-1910 is there, though not the News Leader or Evening-Journal. But let me tell you, it has so aided my undertaking that I can't even tell you because my brain has turned into guacamole. This is an expenditure of tax dollars I salute, and its absolutely free. God bless the Archivists....

[Image: June 19, 2006, "Bingeing On Books In L.A," Wit of the Staircase.]

There she is, my Deadline. She waits for me; restive and annoyed and eager to get on wit it, wondering why the hell I haven't gotten this done a month ago. And I want to make her happy, yet I fear her.

Now, I must run. President William Howard Taft is reviewing VMI cadets in front of the Lee Monument. Really.

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At 8:03 PM, Blogger foam said...

it's monday ..
is you done yet?

At 7:27 AM, Blogger HEK said...

Greetings, Foam, and thanks for coming in. Not quite. See today's post. Closer and closer, slowly I write...


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