I’ve long appreciated Sri Seah’s posts on Groundhog Day Resolutions—and I felt a little lightbulb sympathetically illuminate in my mind when Rua Williams discussed their idea of a “Fractal Scaffold” during the Neurodivergent Writing Guide session. Patterns—especially ones that can traverse and reinforce layers of activity—speak to me at the moment.
For those who are new to Sri’s “Groundhog Day” idea, it’s a system for checking in with yourself that is prompted by double dates on the calendar. 02-02, 03-03, 08-08, 09-09, you’ve got the idea. Their “Official Dates” suggest that you adjust your goals as necessary in some of these monthly reviews.
Resolutions, Themes, Patterning
I’m making it an intention (but not quite a resolution, since in my experience those lead all too easily toward shame) to be more attentive to patterns (positive, negative, and otherwise) in my life and to try and refine them for the better this year. Here “refine” probably includes “adopt, adapt, and/or shed”, as well as “improve.”
You might also consider this a yearly theme, if you’re of that Myke Hurley-and-CGP Grey-influenced persuasion.
Patterning? Towards What?
So. Huh. “Patterning,” eh?
Can I maybe rephrase that in terms of more concrete “outcomes” or “goals”?
The main outcomes I feel I’m looking for are:
- creating mechanisms for feedback on my ideas;
- perceiving progress on my own projects; and
- developing “muscle memory” and intuition for what I can or should be doing next.
One major thing I’ll want to figure out is precisely what sorts of feedback I’d like to receive, on what scale. I’ve added comments to my blog in the last few months, and while that type of feedback would be nice, it’s not precisely what I mean.
I have in mind something closer to a dissertation writing group. One of the most difficult parts of being an interdisciplinary thinker in a slowly-paced, mostly long-distance grad program is finding and cultivating peers for writing and thinking alongside.
Some thinkers I’m inspired by here are Kathleen Fitzgerald, Jonny L. Saunders, Mandy Brown, and Sam Popowich. They’ve each shared “works in process” publicly, in ways I’ve appreciated as a reader.
What parts of these patterns and whatnot might be useful for other people to read, either here on my blog or in the coziness of their own RSS reader? I’ll aim to post regularly about whatever bits of patterning, processes, and mental “muscle memory” are working for me. I always appreciate other people’s insights into their own processes, even when they describe things that don’t appeal to me in the slightly.
As for receiving feedback, I might end up experimenting with the Docs feature of HCommons.org for this, or seeing if H-Net has relevant aspects. Or I might be like Johny L. Saunders and self-host well-developed drafts. Or perhaps I’ll develop ideas across smaller blog posts, like Mandy Brown and Sam Popowich.
My hunch is that the time I spent making my digital garden was partially a type of slouching toward this thinking in public, but without having yet identified my desire for feedback. Blogging seems the simplest route for feedback—and the one with small enough chunks to appeal to potential readers—so I think that’s where I’ll start.
Of course, if you’re interested in something like a dissertation group, some kind of infrequent salon for sharing ideas, or the like, please do reach out!
While I admire people catalysts for community, like Sri and their DS Cafe Coworking Discord, I don’t feel like I’m up to that sort of shepherding while also trying to do my exams and dissertation (above and beyond my regular work). I’m massively appreciative of them for hosting and maintaining this Discord server, just as I appreciate Kfitz and all the other people who run HCommons.
I imagine there might be fellow travelers out there trying to navigate how to share thoughts larger than a social media post. If you’re in a similar situation, consider this at least a head nod of acknowledgement. And f you feel inclined to reach out, whether to share what patterns have worked for you or to say you might want to share some thoughts, there’s no need to stay a stranger!