Monday, July 16, 2012

Practical Scamping: Moorhead Edition

This last week, I took the Scamp and the cats to Moorhead, which is about an hour and a half from where I've been spending the summer, and had a great time with my friend Dawn.  I parked the Scamp in her driveway, the perfect epitome of Practical Scamping.  She's got dogs and I've got cats (fraidy cats, even), and I can't leave them by themselves, so that's why they came with me.  It was seriously hot in Moorhead, but my AC kept up just fine (and Galway didn't pee on anything, so I count that as a good trip).

The goal of the trip was to help Dawn with the chapter of her book that's had her stymied and she was helping me with my paper on Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea.  See my other blog, State of Mind:  Adventures in Place-Conscious Teaching, for a more extended discussion of O'Connor.  I'm in the midst of my comps for my PhD and this paper is part of the portfolio I'm doing for that.  The last major hurdle before my dissertation.  And I'm taking this paper on O'Connor and using it for the paper I'm giving at the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures conference in Montreal in two weeks, so no pressure on getting it right.

Dawn and I have been friends for fifteen years (dang, I'm getting old) and recently we've started collaborating in the teaching sphere.  This spring, we both taught O'Connor's novel to our respective classes (she to her literature class, me to my creative writing class) and collaborated in a wiki space.  It had its ups and downs, but was a pretty cool experience overall.

So I sat at her kitchen table working, she was in her office, and by Thursday morning, we were in good shape.  She'd pounded out that chapter, I'd gotten a working draft of my paper.  Whew.  We both said that we wouldn't have gotten to that point without the physical presence of the other, for moral support as well as how much it helps to have somebody working in your vicinity.  It makes you work harder.

It's also fun to talk Irish lit with somebody who knows what you're talking about.

The only hiccup in the whole experience was my AC (again), though what I suspect is that when the very nice guy at the Scamp factory fiddled with my AC, I think he stripped out one of the screws, so my AC is hanging drunkenly from my ceiling.  I need to find some time that I can go to Backus this week and have them fix it.  I'm not messing with fiberglass and stripped screws.

But everything else was awesome.  Temperature control was good, cat issues were good, we figured out (again) how to function in 60 square feet (seems like every trip requires starting from scratch on that).  No problems setting up, no problems tearing down.  And when I was in residential Fargo on Wednesday night, I saw a 13-foot Scamp on the way home.

I heart my Scamp.

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