July and August were busy, but not recorded here. I was getting settled in a different office. I was learning Scrivener, a writing software program that I’m almost evangelical about. I prepared and made a presentation on Lutherans and immigration to a group of Lutheran scholars and then took a trip to India with a St. Olaf Colleague. Once I was back there was follow up on that trip and from a committee meeting.
This week (today) classes begin at St. Olaf and the transition from summer to sabbatical is complete. While others were getting ready for the semester, I was doing that follow-up, some background reading (including a relatively new history of higher education by Roger Geiger), and pursuing other less related interests (including this fascinating study of the Tamil co-workers in the Tranquebar mission).
So now I begin, returning to my big project which is to be about Lars W. Boe. Yesterday I stacked up my two published articles, the printed copy of a power-point, and all the notes generated for those and in the summer of 2014 and carried them to the library where I spread them out on a long table. The articles are pretty good; they suggest both that Boe is a worthy topic and that I know something about him. The notes are a jumble of formats and lacking an easily retrievable scheme of organization. I’m still searching for that magic software program that will make this process tidy.
So now I begin by reiterating to my self what I often tell students: at the beginning of a project, you cannot know what you will learn. There will be hours and days of wandering. Pay attention to what you see along the way. Do not rush to the destination. Perhaps I can learn this again by taking notice of the way American higher education developed (really in fits and starts, with some dead-ends) or by remembering how ill prepared the 18th century Europeans were to work in South India.
It is too soon, way too soon, for a word count. One step at a time. Follow the fortune cookie advise taped to your monitor . . . even as you (that is me) investigate the past.