Seven Stages of Discovering a New Reference

A few years ago I attended a two-day academic writing workshop that changed my life. Dr. Leslie Jarmon’s advice on outlining was genius and a technique I still use. But try as I might, I cannot “close the gate.” One of Dr. Jarmon’s key recommendations was to set a deadline for reading your references and once that day came you had to close the gate and ideally never open it again. In principle I have absolutely no problem with closing the gate. Though I enjoy squirreling away references like any good researcher I am resolute about deadlines. But in practice it is impossible to close the gate.Among a long list of things, the universe has a twisted sense of humor when it comes to references. Or it may just be the vicissitudes of Google. Either way, I have yet to work on a project that doesn’t have some 4th quarter reference to top all references. And today I found a whopper. Somehow a 149-page CLUTCH collection of interviews innocuously revealed itself to me as a Google Drive PDF. Here’s my reaction told through Martine, the maid in Valmont (1989).


1. Discovery mingled with fear.


2. Denial, denial, denial!


3. My brain, overwhelmed by emotion, is shutting down.


4. Still overwhelmed…


5. …overwhelmed still…


6. …almost done being overwhelmed…

7-Acceptance as Collapse

7. Full collapse, yet I’ve accepted this gift.

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