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Kevin and Linda Clutterbuck’s garden, Norridgewock, Maine
July, 2010; photograph by Anna Cook

This week, right in the middle of a heat wave here in Boston and between a two-day migraine headache and the start of fall semester classes, I decided my first full draft was as done as it was going to be. I closed the files, saved them to my USB drive, and tomorrow morning will print two copies and drop them off in the mailboxes of my first and second readers.

The draft comprises an introduction (context and methods) and three chapters. It clocks in at 98 pages, which is longer than my adviser will like but shorter than the final draft is likely to be. I feel very proud to have written those 98 pages over the past twelve weeks, however rough they may be (and believe me, some sections are rough).

What happens from here? Well, first Hanna and I are going — hurricane Earl permitting! — to spend Labor Day weekend free of labor at her parents’ home in central Maine (see above).

Then, my readers will look over and comment on the rough draft and my adviser and I will sit down and plan out the timetable for my final version. There are some constituents voting for a final draft to be submitted in September, and some in the May completion camp. I myself am divided, but leaning toward May for both personal and scholastic reasons. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased that this phase of the project — which at times felt endless verging on the hopeless (Hanna will testify to the tears involved) — is over and the next phase can begin. I’ve always been a bigger fan of revision than I have of the initial, terrifying draft.

Cross-posted from my oregon extension oral history project blog.

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