The Eudora Project

I’m still in the process of setting up my Trailing Eudora site. It needs quite a bit more touch up work before I can say it is fully operational, in fact, but I have added a little bit of content to it. If you are interested in reading the posts I put together after my trip to Jackson yesterday, here they are:

The Driving Tour
The Camellias

Content will likely develop slowly on that site. I might not post more than twenty times to it in the first year. That goes against the grain of how people have defined blogs thus far (as frequently updated personal sites), but it is an example of how a blog can be used to create an archive of information over time.

Content will develop slowly there because I’m going to be pickier about what I put on it. I posted something to this blog about my Welty trailing yesterday that I did not post over there. It was just a personal piece of transitory interest. I want to take more time with the items that go into the Welty project because I do see it as a scholarly project, even the parts of it that might be more personal in nature.

This is the kind of project I’d propose as a thesis if I were still a graduate student. It’s the kind of thesis I think people in the humanities should be writing these days. My guess is the hardbound black tomes are in no danger of fading away, however. People rarely ask me for input in these matters.

It may not be obvious yet why it is a scholarly site. I’m only just getting started. I do plan to add articles of a more critical nature, however, along with classroom lesson plans, photo essays, oral histories, and my own personal accounts of my excursions onto the trails Welty forged with her life and work.

Maybe the critical articles will be the only parts that do define it as scholarly in the end, but the cross-section of genres will make it interesting and useful. I wrote my master’s thesis in 1991. It was probably shelved in a library somewhere later that year. My guess is no one has picked it up since. I haven’t.

Digital scholarship, it seems to me, at least offers the opportunity to make the connections between the critical work and its applications more obvious. That’s what I hope to do with this Eudora project by working on it from a variety of angles and intersections rather than a single central claim. We’ll see what happens there…

Regardless, I’m learning something from it whether anybody else is or not. That’s enough for a start.

Right Angel, Wrong Grave

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I went to the Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson today where Eudora Welty is buried. I was looking for her grave, of course, but I was also looking for an angel she once photographed. I didn’t have the picture on me, and I wasn’t trying to recreate her photograph. I just wanted to take my own picture of the same angel. I was sure I’d found it. It has the star on the head. It’s the right size. Everything looked the same about it to me except for the fact that one hand was broken off, and some sort of watering can was hanging in its place. When I got home and started comparing my picture to the one in the Welty book, I still thought I had the right angel. Right up to the point that I noticed first that the background in my pictures was wrong and second that the name on my grave was different. As it turns out there are some differences in the shape of my angel as well, though the two are remarkably similar and evidently coexist in the same cemetery. They both belong to people who died in 1890. They must have been made by the same person.

This will not be my last trek to Greenwood Cemetery, it seems. It’s inevitable that I’ll keep going back until I find the right angel or find someone to tell me it no longer exists.

I did manage to locate Welty herself, and I’m pretty sure this is the real Eudora Welty grave.

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She would have approved of the modesty of her marker. Anyone who kept her Pulitzer in a cardboard box in the coat closet probably wouldn’t have much use for a ten foot tall marble angel.

Visitor

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I was standing inside my kitchen when I took this picture.

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The bird was in the tree at the back of the yard.

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I could have really snapped a great shot if I’d been outside and standing a little closer, but I was afraid that I’d scare if off if I opened the door. Nevertheless, I can say I’m pleased with the new zoom lens. It seems to do its job.

Danger Alert: Baby Loves You

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I was so busy taking pictures of the kids and the puppies that I didn’t even notice I was photographing a potential strangulation. I didn’t see how baby girl was holding poor little Captain until I copied the pictures over to the computer. I did notice that the next time she tried to pick him up he cried. I held him to calm him down and gave her another puppy to torture.

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Luckily, she seems to have done a little better with the second one.

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Still, I notice both Captain and Sundae are conspicuously absent from the puppies voluntarily accepting her love.

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

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I bought a new lens, I told myself, so that I could take pictures of squirrels without scaring them off.

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You need to zoom in quite a bit on a squirrel. They are skittish.

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Lucky for me a squirrel was accommodating enough to come out to play on my first day of wandering around with the 70-300 mm zoom lens.

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He hardly seemed to care that I was there, mainly because I wasn’t actually standing very close.

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Nevertheless, he didn’t hang around long.

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He had places to go, and other nuts to see.

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The bird was nice enough to pose as well, but stayed with me an even shorter time than the squirrel.

Here’s to finding enough squirrels in my life to justify the price of the lens, which we really aren’t going to talk about right now.

Is it Really Spring Break?

It must be spring break because I don’t feel any particular urgency to accomplish despite the fact that I actually do have more needing my attention than I’ll be able to get to in a week, urgency notwithstanding. I blame the Robitussin. All over town I see blooms: tulip trees, pear trees, jasmine. Spring is coming and bring with it the usual allergy and asthma issues. I am in awe of the blooms. I cannot breathe. I take Robitussin, and suddenly hours have passed. I don’t know what they have gone toward, nor what the hours to come will make of themselves. But I feel no urgency, and that is improvement to me.

I know that I am not spending my spring break in Louisville, KY for CCCC. I feel sad about that when I see so many friends posting comments about their presentations. This will be my first time in several years to miss the Cs. I didn’t even propose. I was tired when proposals were due. I’m tired now. My bank account is tired. I’m staying home for a little while, but I do look forward to reading the online reports and reviews from the Conference on College Composition and Communication this week.

Meanwhile, my only known accomplishment of the day is that I’ve figured out how to make the slider thingie work on my Trailing Eudora site. If I figure out even one more thing about how to manage a WordPress site, I’m going to start calling myself an expert, though I do not know what that might mean or what good it might do me. I can say that I’m glad I figured this out before I really had any content on that site. It requires a little extra formatting on posts. You have to use custom fields and thumbnails to make it all work together. The theme I’m using on Writerly Haphazardry also has a the capacity to add fancier layouts and such, but I’ve already added more than 100 posts without making use of all the necessary formatting options. It seems unlikely that I would bother now unless I deleted everything that is already here and started over. There’s always the chance that will happen, but for now I’m just glad I’m learning new tricks on a brand new site.

I probably won’t get very far on Trailing Eudora this week. I need to grade, and I need to write some things I’ve promised to people who believe more wholeheartedly in deadlines than I. A little tweaking here and there is anticipated, however. My main goal is to have the mechanics of how it will be structured all smoothed out and ready to roll by the end of this semester so that I can devote more time in the summer to developing content. I seem to be well on my way.

My other plan is to build a podcast site for composition students. I’ll probably do that one as an add on site to something I already have in place rather than paying to set up a whole new domain, but it’s another thing I want to really flesh out technical details on now so that I can devote myself to developing content over the summer. I’ve been playing with Garage Band lately, and I’ll keep playing with it for the rest of this semester with the idea in mind that I’ll learn how to make more professional podcasts. That way I’ll be more prepared to create a whole site of podcasts for students over the summer.

So there you have my spring break plans. Possibly I’m missing something in the meaning of break.