Igor, throw the switch!!


The Tesla coil begins to thrum. Machines spit sparks and rattle. Cobweb clad work tables await a new creation. The doctor enters, madness in his eyes. Or is it genius? So much work to be done, so many mysteries to be explored. But which to breathe life into first? What research siren’s call will sate his intellectual thirst? And so here we begin, at the beginning. At the drafting table.

For my graduate class, Core 2: Research Methods for Writers, I will be working on a semester-long research project. The project is intended to develop and challenge our definition and experience with research methods. Research opportunities far surpass the traditional book and data methods that we are all familiar with. I will be conducting my research in a variety of ways and posting it here, sharing not only my research, but the journey and experiences of gathering the data itself. This is intended for my peers and classmates, as well as any “outside” interested parties.

To research, one needs a topic TO research. Was it Confucius who said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”? Maybe it was Bruce Lee, or Yoda. Maybe it was Chuck Norris. So, let’s take that step. Hold on, let me put on my socks. So here I am, and here you are. I just saw a tumbleweed roll by. Who cued the crickets? Never mind. Let’s brainstorm.

Here are the ideas I have so far. Did I mention that the project should also be a local subject with potential national appeal? Well, I just did. So, here’s what I’ve got:

1. A look behind those roadside memorials that I see occasionally while driving. You know, the homemade cross with the road worker’s vest on it and a wreath. Or the candles and stuffed animals. I see them, usually after the rain has beat them down or carbon monoxide has colored the white plush bear black. Who were these people who died? How did they die? Who loved and cared about them so much that they stopped to build a memorial at that site, the assumed site of their death.

2. What do local religious institutes think about this end of the world thing? The Courier Post recently ran an article about a trio of guys that left behind jobs, companies, even families, to tour the nation, spreading their belief that the world is going to end in May 2011. May 21 to be precise. They claim that the Bible is filled with revelations and signs that this is the end of days. So, what’s the take from different religions? How do they feel about this and other religious institutions? What makes them so different anyway?

3. What’s going on with the local music scene? The music store around the corner has a rock camp for kids. They even get to perform in concert, etc. What other local bands are working on things? What goes on at The Electric Factory? What young talent is out there and how are they getting noticed?

4. What does it take to be a tattoo artist? How do you even begin? What kind of life is it? Is it profitable? It’s always intrigued me. Maybe a behind the scenes look into the profession of the tattoo artist?

5. What’s the story of the lakes around which my development is built? They are old sand quarries, spring-fed. I’ve fished them and caught bass. The middle of the main lake is supposed to be almost ninety feet deep. There is supposed to be a crane at the bottom. When the quarry was operational, they hit the water table and (according to the story) it filled up so fast that they could not get the crane out. A young girl drowned last year in the secondary lake. There is a memorial along the road for her, still.

This is where I am at. I am not sure I even like any of these ideas enough yet to go with them. I am still wracking my brain to come up with more ideas, but I welcome your feedback on what I have so far. What do you think of the topics? Do any of these interest you? Would you ever be interested in reading a piece about any of these? Let me know.

Until then, I’ll be with Igor, throwing switches.