Posted by: gdevi | September 7, 2015

Cell by Cell, Row by Row

I am one of those people who long for the Labor Day long weekend. Not because I want to rest, but because this is the only time I get to finish stuff that explodes as soon as the fall semester opens. I worked straight through from Friday afternoon after I finished teaching till this evening and got a lot of things done. I have a whole new respect for folks who do data input and statistical analysis. I got a massive amount of data related to domestic violence from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in raw data sheets for my grant work–massive amount. I entered them all, hundreds and hundreds of lines, for all 67 counties of the state, into several neatly organized spreadsheets. Hundreds of lines of neatly organized data; cell by cell, row by row, column by column. Bartleby the Scrivener would be proud of my work. I ran some preliminary correlational analysis. It is actually quite a pleasure to look at this massive amount of data that made no sense earlier, or discontinuous sense earlier, which now speaks in the language of numbers to me loudly. It is totally beautiful. I also finished a book review for NDQ. My eyes hurt, my neck aches, my back aches, my fingers are cramped and I feel light-headed. But it was such a productive weekend. I listened to all of my favorite soundtracks while working on the spreadsheets, over and over again: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, LA Confidential, The Crying Game and lots of Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Modern Times, Time Out of Mind and Shadows in the Night. I finished everything and said goodbye to my laptop around 5pm, went outside to my garden, and plucked the remaining eggplants, zucchinis, bell peppers, green beans and okra and made a large sautee of all of the vegetables with garlic and olive oil. Delicious! There is also rice and tuna with tomatoes that K made. If I have another life, I hope I will be born as a farmer.

I want to put a plug in for my friend Lori Ostlund’s new novel, After the Parade. It comes out on September 22nd from Scribner.  Pre-order the book and read it as soon as you get it. Congratulations, Lori!

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