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Overall Inventory, January-August

August 29, 2010

Rather than my normal monthly routine, I figured this would be a good time to take a look back at the entirety of my time spent in Athens. I arrived in Athens on January 26 and left on August 24, and I spent April 19 through May 15 in Pennsylvania with a busted ankle. In total, I spent almost exactly six months in Georgia.

In that time, I have compiled a ton of material. I’ve got hours and hours of interviews with dozens of people. I’ve got countless articles and reviews, both online and from obscure and out-of-print music zines. I’ve got photographs, posters, and notebooks full of hand-written lyrics.

Though I’m by no means done with the research portion, I can say two things with certainty. First, I’m at a point where I can begin composing the manuscript in earnest. It’s something I’ve tended to passively while conducting interviews, but I can really hit it harder now, especially as I continue to transcribe the myriad interviews I have. Second, I’ve talked to the large majority of the people I need to interview. Only one person of any relevance has declined to be interviewed, and even that is because the person in question just doesn’t do interviews ever (and it’s not who you’re thinking of). I definitely still have a few people to hunt down, and there are a few people I’ve met with but haven’t interviewed on the record yet, but in general, that part of things is drawing to a close. It’s impossible to give an exact percentage of completion, but I’m sure I’m past the halfway point.

My challenge now is transitioning my focus from research to transcription and composition. This is a challenge for a few reasons, but most importantly, the research phase was so rewarding and fulfilling and generally enjoyable that it seems inherently counterintuitive to wind it down, and while I’m sure the composition phase will be just as rewarding (in a completely different way), it’s that middle stage of transcription that is a bit of a hurdle. It’s not especially difficult, but the sheer tedium of the task–hundreds of hours of re-listening to interviews and typing them up verbatim, and keeping it all organized in the meantime–is pretty daunting. I would skip it if I could, and I’m still open to hiring an intern (for no pay or any real tangible benefit), but I can’t use any of this information until I’ve transcribed it first.

So right now is a transition. I need to multitask and do everything at once, and I need to do it in my spare time. At this point, a full-time job is a priority, and no longer can I invest so much of my time on this project. By no means am I casting it aside, but it’s pretty much a side project for a little while. But I think that’s manageable.

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