There are a few things to say about the washed-out photo at left, taken with my iPad on a return flight from the RSA Institute at Boulder. The first is that I took it while reading the introduction to a dissertation scheduled to be defended in a few days. Reading a dissertation on a plane isn't all that momentous--people in jobs like mine do it all the time--but reading a dissertation while flying solo with a toddler is a major event for this mama. During the first hour of the nap, I rested. And then I found myself getting restless and then... could I? No. Maybe I can just reach down into my bag with my free hand. Yes! There it is. My wrists hurt like a mofo from having to hold it in the same position for an hour, and typing notes and making annotations was next to impossible, but I managed. The Bean woke up just as I wound down the last sentences of the introduction, delighted to see that she could switch the iPad over to the baby-appropriate counting app.
The second thing to say about this photo is that CGD, the author of said dissertation, wrote pretty much the whole thing with a baby sleeping in her own lap, having given birth, completed a job visit, and negotiated a job offer all within the space of (no joke) a month last winter. After the postpartum/post-job search (!) phase wound down, she had to write up the study she had been conducting for three years now (a really remarkable study of the rhetorical practices surrounding a watershed in Eastern Iowa). CGD posted onto facebook photo after webcam photo of herself in a room lit only by the glow of her dissertation screen, with the little--growing--bundle sleeping in a carrier or wrap or her arm. (We mamas get pretty fast with the one-hand typing.) By the time she finished, he--the baby--was sitting up gazing in wonder at the screen. As well he should.
One would expect a dissertation written with such speed under these conditions to be a little rough around the edges, at least typographically speaking. If the introduction is any indication, though, this one is as clean as a freshly diapered baby's behind. And the writing is so strong, the study so capacious and downright fascinating, I can't wait to post this and get back to reading it.
CGD, I promise I will post the requisite diss-with-whippet, but I wanted to post this one as well, as a visual response to your writing series, a further chronicling of the lives that share the spaces of our work. Way to go, mama.