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May 6, 2010

I’m still in Pennsylvania, but I finally have my computer back in my possession, which means I can do something other than sit around all day watching travel shows and eating leftovers.

I’ll probably be back in Athens in a week or two, at which point I can get back to interviewing Athenians. In the meantime, I have a bunch of interviews I’ve already recorded that I need to transcribe. It’s time-consuming and a bit tedious, but it needs to be done eventually, and what better time than now?

I’ve already accumulated hours and hours of interviews, so a deliberate approach is necessary. There’s simply too much (with tons more to come) to transcribe everything word-for-word in its collective entirety, but simply annotating it guarantees I’ll need to go back through it again in full. So I’m taking a hybrid strategy. Basically, I go through each interview with at least two other windows open.

In the first window, I’m compiling additional questions to ask people. For example, in my interview with Andy Gonzales (which I went through first because it was relatively short and straightforward) he mentioned how, when he left Of Montreal to go to nursing school, he had felt he would rejoin the band at some point, but “things totally changed.” As Gonzales doesn’t seem to harbor any bitterness or resentment toward anyone in the band or even the fact that Of Montreal sort of broke out right after he left, the implications of this comment are tough to guess, and anyway I’m not interested in speculating (nor do I think anyone else is interested in my idle speculation). So the next time I talk to Andy, I will follow up. In the stories he related, he obviously also mentioned plenty of other people, and the stories give me fodder for discussion with those people down the road, which I’ve also noted in this file

In the other window, I have the rough outline of the story I’ve begun putting together. This is the important part. The outline is simply a skeleton, and as I go through the interview, I pull out chunks of meat to put on the bones. By fleshing it out in this way, I ensure I’m only transcribing the relevant parts of our interview, and it helps me organize everything in the same step, which is quite a time-saver.

I’ll find out from the orthopedist tomorrow just when I can get back to Athens, but in the meantime, I have my work cut out for me. Transcribing an interview in this fashion tends to take roughly two and a half minutes for every minute of interview; for example, my 45-minute interview with Andy Gonzales took me almost two hours to parse. Maybe I should get an intern.

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