The last few weeks have felt like running in water. A perfect storm of long-standing responsibilities, short-term duties, and end of the year fatigue combined to reduce all progress to a twisted mangle of complicated and complicating task. Somehow, I managed to carve out some writing time to finish the final chapter draft of my book manuscript. It brings together my work in the Bakken with some of my recent thinking about how our work might inform the archaeology of contemporary climate change (some of which you can read here).
A couple of years ago, I watched one of my buddies here at the University of North Dakota write his book. When he completed a chapter draft, he dutifully hung it by a binder clip on a bookshelf in his office. This gave him a nice visual reminder that he was making progress toward his goal.
I’ve struggled a bit to embrace this feeling of progress with any project lately. The COVID-19 situation hasn’t helped, but even before then, I felt a bit like I was stuck on a treadmill writing the same thing over and over just using different words. I suppose this is part of what happens when the desire to write exceeds the time, space, or ability to produce ideas. In any event, in place of an impressive display of dangling chapters, I’ll post chapters here to my blog from time to time.
To date, I have completed eight chapters of a book that I’m writing titled, The Archaeology of the Contemporary American Experience. These are very, very rough drafts. The citations are not entirely complete and they’re about 1000 words shorter than they’ll be when they’re folded together to make a coherent(-ish) book. This also includes working on transitions between the chapters and filling out the references.
You can read a very rough outline of my book proposal here. The book is about 60% survey and 40% a cultural and methodological study of the archaeology of the contemporary American experience. As a result, a significant part of the book will tend toward the descriptive. My hope is that the 40% of the book where I try to do some cultural history isn’t so far off the mark (or so mundane) to be uninteresting or, worse still, produce an archaeology that is merely illustrating well-known history from texts.
Here are the first drafts of the eight chapters with the latest in bold:
Chapter 1: The Alamogordo Atari Excavation
As always, if you have observations, constructive criticism, or just unmitigated hatred of everything that I’m doing here, please do let me know!