My first month back from sabbatical has been full of bad habits. I’m reading more than I’m writing. I’m using daily tasks (email, reading for class, blogging, grading, service, tilting at windmills) to hide from long term projects. And, while I’ve taken steps to keep my stress level manageable, I’ve slowly felt the icy tendrils of stress creeping into my day-to-day life.
So, I’m going to take a week off from regular blogging, and focus my morning “therapy writing” on a book project that I’m involved in relating to the Atari dig in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I’m not sure that we can meet a very ambitious writing deadline, but I’m going to let my writing for this project take over the blog for the next week.
Here is what I need to write about:
1. Archaeology of the Contemporary World (4000 words). Was the Atari dig archaeology? Is this even a relevant question? This is the way to reflect on a big picture view of archaeology of the contemporary world.
2. Digging the Modern: A CRM Perspective (4000 words). The challenges associated with dealing with modern sites. The challenges of dealing with the landfill.
3. Technical Report on Excavations (8000 words). This has been drafted. It’s a technical description of what we documented during the excavation.
4. Between Artifacts and Commodities (4000 words). I’d like to think through more thoroughly the issue of whether it was ethical to sell the Atari games on auction and reflect on how archaeology of the contemporary world creates a new, hyper abundant class of artifacts. I’ve penned some vague ideas here.
5. Excavating Innocence (4000). I’d like to riff on Laurie Wilkie’s remarkable book: The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010) when considering the larger meaning of excavating an urban legend in Alamogordo. I played with some of the ideas in relation to the Zak Penn documentary here.
Obviously, I’m not going to be able to write all of this in one week, but if I can chip away at some of these ideas this week during my designated blogging time, then maybe I can keep the dreaded “business” at bay.
So I apologize to my regular readers who may find this entire Atari Excavation business a bit tedious, and promise that I have other things to blog about when I get some of this Atari book on the page.