My head tells me to begin this project with a solid thesis statement, topic sentences. I ought to know my conclusion beforehand.
And yet, this time, I don’t.
I’m trumping tradition by writing the middle sections first, observing how they hang together, with plans to add the opening and ending as if I were wrapping up a package.
Saturday, I hit full-on crazy researcher mode. All the sticky notes came off the Big Board for their 5 sections. I gave a first pass at clustering them into meaningful groups that suggested each section’s arc.
I’m still sketching bones for the structure, however. I conducted four interviews over the weekend, which means I only have one more to hold, out of the 11 original women who participated in this project.
The interviews are getting tighter, more skilled. They take less time to conduct now, because I know more of where my search is focused.
Of course, more interviews translates to a slew of stickies (pink for participants, lavender for my own story or conclusions, green for questions or participants’ own words). There are stickies EVERYWHERE: In my purse, on the laptop, on mirrors, next to shoes, adorning old journals, fluttering atop avocados.
Most of the sticky comes from my commute, from listening to recordings and scrawling at stoplights, but the new crop of interviews are so much denser that I found myself rewinding sections again and again today. I may need to listen to these over dinner, if I even have hopes for re-reading my handwriting!
But the words are golden gifts. I learned tonight that if you tilt your head when looking at the sunset, your eyes process the colors differently, making them appear more vibrant. By stopping to really listen to the lives of others, looking at the echoes in my own heart has made life the brighter.