It’s back-to-school day for my kids’ school district. Just before 7 AM we put them on a big yellow bus and now I find myself in a less lively, but more sedate, household. It’s time to really wrap up all the dinky summer projects, clean up the languishing blog sites, turn on my out-of-office message, relocate the surface of my desk, take part in one social activity on my campus (& try very hard to wish my colleagues well without gloating), and brace myself for the special mix of anxiety and excitement that will greet me tomorrow when I open up my manuscript files for the first time in months.
So today is sort of threshold day for my sabbatical, dividing the real work of writing, which starts tomorrow, from the diverse summer activities that now must come to a close. England and Turkey seem a long time ago, but my memories of them are still strong, and I am certain that those experiences will continue to bubble up in the future. The most immediate and identifiable change made by my summer opportunities is the digital humanities institute at GMU. For the last weeks since my return from DH boot camp I have spent most of my time working applying my new skills into building a website that gathers, promotes and facilitates my teaching and scholarship. Although I anticipate continuing to tinker with it, I decided this week it was time to launch it into the world. JhenniferAmundson.net is now ready for prime time, and I am delighted with the initial response I’ve received from colleagues, friends, and former students. On the teaching side it really does promise some great new opportunities, especially with the integration of Google Maps and Thinglinks (in addition to being a great source for communication, and not to mention much, much prettier than Blackboard or eLearn). On the scholarship side it is a fine digital closet; I suppose a next step in digital humanities is to start thinking digitally about research as it’s happening.
That shift may indeed take place as early as January, when I will be in Washington DC and starting a new project. But for now, it’s back to the project that I began more years ago than I care to count, to finish that thing! Finally!