Writing Through

I think about prepositions a lot. I had to memorize a list of them in grade school—maybe fifth grade? I have a vestigial memory of my fifth grade teacher reciting them at us. Aboard, about above, at, behind, beyond… (I looked them up and there’s a whole handful of other A ones. I remember working so hard to memorize them that Now, as an adult person, as a teacher, and as a scholar, I find myself constantly thinking about the ways people and ideas relate to each other; in this quest of thought and feeling, prepositions often come into play. (Though now that I think about it, the rote memorization feels entirely unnecessary, and adds to my theory of the stifling side of “Standard” American English and the way it’s often taught.)

I planned on using the space of this blog to write through a lot more of this dissertation process, and now I am almost done the dissertation. The ways that plans are laid and then the ways that they diverge is part of what has been the most enlightening for me in this process. As the draft progresses, the prepositions change: “planning to” becomes “moving around” becomes “turned into.” And it’s not a passive shift: you as the writer are sometimes (mostly) the engine of the way your words move, but their interactions can surprise you. You don’t know the shape of the book until you’ve taken a stab at the whole thing.

And on that note, back to work!