Chris Uggen's Blog: most disturbing, yet strangely familiar

Monday, August 29, 2005

most disturbing, yet strangely familiar

I came across this image (jobani.gif) on the feministe blog though it may have originated elsewhere. I've been feeling poorly about being unproductive and not delivering on some writing deadlines, but I haven't felt like this since the dissertation mania of summer '95. Anyone identifying too closely with this picture right now should STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. A little walking and talking in the sun sometimes reboots my head and improves my writing, especially when combined with gyros, baklava, and an understanding friend (your mileage may vary).

11 Comments:

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Kathy H said...

I am warning you: this will be YOU if you persist with your plan to do your own index for Locking Up the Vote!! And don't expect Arnie to clean the blood off the walls... :)-

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous chris said...

Ouch, Kathy. You have my sympathies on the indexing. Since you put all that work into it, maybe Cambridge will let you place the index in the *front* of Same-Sex Marriage. Or, perhaps you could publish the index separately as an article.

 
At 2:43 PM, Anonymous valerio said...

chris, you are a professor at a very good university, and you have your tenure. you have done a fine amount of research, went through more than 20 years of schooling, written articles, and done all the fun stuff that people in the academia have to do. so i was wondering, inspired by your post, whether you still (or have ever) read books on writing? i have recently read eviatar zerubavel's "the clockwork muse", and howie becker's "writing for social scientists", and i think i got some good ideas out of them. it's not like i'll be this incredible writing machine now, but it gave me some confidence and useful guidelines. i would really appreciate your answer. thanks!

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger Penn State Punk said...

thats me, and YOU are the cause of it!

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous eszter said...

Yeah, I've seen that before and found it incredibly disturbing. An alternative is to take five minutes a day (or several times a day) for breathing. I know that sounds silly, we're always breathing, but see details of what I mean here.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

Valerio, Thanks for the kind words. I loved creative writing courses in college. I half-remember a few aphorisms (e.g., if you find it helpful to stick your feet in a bucket of ice cream when you write, then stick your feet in a bucket of ice cream when you write), but little else. I like Ann Lamott's Bird by Bird and biographies about really creative people (Kurt Cobain, Neil Young, Herbert Simon). I keep a few quotations on my main web page at http://www.soc.umn.edu/~uggen/QUOTE.htm Sometimes they help me get started or "unstuck."


Eszter, thanks for the tip! I've learned not to lock myself in place for hours, at least. I get up at least hourly to walk, stretch, and mumble to myself or others. This seems to alleviate some of the neck, back, shoulder, and sinus conditions that afflict knowledge workers.

Punk, Try to relax and let the words come naturally to you. No, seriously, I want *more* blood :)

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous valerio said...

chris, thanks for the reply. and I have one more question remotely related to the topic: did you (or anyone else reading the blog) read any works of fiction written by sociologists, and what do you think about them. i haven't, but i will because it's rather interesting to see how well-known sociologists managed to find time and will to write novels (or short stories, like the one written by harold garfinkel that made it to the "best american short stories" collection the year it was published. the title of the story, btw, is 'color trouble', published in 1941), people such as randall collins and orlando patterson.

 
At 6:20 PM, Anonymous chris said...

Great question! It seems every major sociologist has some interesting hobby or special talent, but I don't know too many who have published fiction.

 
At 11:01 AM, Anonymous sarah said...

Randall Collins has published a detective novel, I believe. I only know that 'cause I'm friends with his daughter. The guy writes at least 40 pages a day of whatever. The couple times I've sat at the table with him I've been in awestruck silence, but what can you say to a guy who's written an 800+ page history of philosophical thought worldwide (and that was after his editor made him cut it in half - or something like that)????? Back to the woodshed...

 
At 1:26 PM, Anonymous valerio said...

collins is a sociologist that i admire especially because of his writing style. when you take, for example, his "three sociological traditions", it is very readable, although it deals with a lot of dry theoretical stuff. i am reading his "interaction ritual chains" (princeton, 2004) now, and it is very well written as well. but writing 40 pages a day is really hardcore. :-) btw, sarah, is his daughter writing a lot as well? maybe it's all about a scribomania gene in the collins family...:-)

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous sarah said...

I don't think his daughter (actually, he has two and also a son, I know his eldest) is quite as prolific, though she is one sharp cookie! I think there's very little about Dr. Collins that isn't "hardcore." =). At least, that's the impression I get...

 

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