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

1. Discovery mingled with fear.

2-Denial

2. Denial, denial, denial!

3-Overwhelm

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

4-Overwhelm

4. Still overwhelmed…

5-Overwhelm

5. …overwhelmed still…

6-Overwhelm

6. …almost done being overwhelmed…

7-Acceptance as Collapse

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

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