Friday, September 25, 2009

Not really a dry spell

I haven't posted here in quite a while, but it's not because of lack of thought or activity. In fact the last few months have been very active, working on my analyses (almost done!) and quite a bit of synthesizing work associated with a) presenting at KMi in June, b) giving a talk and 'demo' of the research at the IFVP '09 conference in Montreal (more about that in another post), and c) responding to reviewer comments for the journal article we submitted for a special issue on creativity and design rationale. The latter (c) was the first time that I've gotten truly helpful feedback from a review process. All three reviews were positive (the most positive I've gotten, which is gratifying and makes me feel that I am actually making progress), but more to the point asked very thoughtful questions that are causing me to think carefully and, hopefully, clearly about a range of issues.

Sometimes I feel that all this should've happened say 20 years ago, not at my current more advanced age, but such is life. Better late than never.

One idea that occurred to me while working my way through the reviewer comments this morning (one of many such sessions in the last few weeks, deadline is end of Sept) is that many of the dimensions I'm putting at the center of my analysis -- narrative, sensemaking, creativity -- are essentially "recursive". Meaning, all of these can be looked at as both encompassing phenomena that we live "inside" of, as well as having to do with intentional acts and artifacts that we do or make. Some of the concepts that I need to clarify in the paper have to do with this -- making it clear to the reader which level of "recursion" I'm referring to. I drafted a table that shows all three concepts mapped onto both levels -- I think that will be helpful. It was helpful to me to draw it up, in any case. I'll put a version here later on.

So much of this work has to do with making distinctions that make it clear what you are and are not really talking about, it seems. I had put quite a bit of that in the first submitted version of the journal article, largely in response to past reviews that seemed to miss many of the points I was trying to make. I realized that this is the writer's, not the reader's, fault; I need to make the distinctions obvious and direct. Sometimes I wish it weren't so, that everyone would just know what I mean and respond to the ideas as I intend them, but also, such is life. Slowly I'm learning.