During Lent, my micro-challenge to myself is to write 100 words a day on my thesis, with a target of 4000 words by Holy Thursday. I’ve set down some rules. First, the word count is cumulative, so if I do 500 words in one day, it gets me ahead for the days I can’t get to my thesis. Second, the words I write for forms – risk assessments, field trips, excavation permits, equipment lists – don’t count. Third, blog posts don’t count either (a shame, because this one would give me an extra 329). And fourth, since Sundays don’t count in Lent, I don’t have to write on a Sunday.
I think if I had been to kindy and school in Australia, I would have liked the star charts. I do love ticking things off a list. So, I’ve created my own chart for the 100 words challenge, and a traffic light system where I get green if I’ve achieved the target for the week, orange if I’m on track, and red if I haven’t got close. You can see how I’ve done so far in the picture below.
Of course, before I can write, I also need to read. And the most poignant thing I’ve read in the past couple of days is about a ritual known as ‘potatoes and point’, described in a 1999 article by Claudia Kinmonth. In the old days, when the Irish were poor and constantly facing the threat of famine, families often shared the meal of potatoes around a communal basket known as a skib. While they sat around the skib, eating pounds and pounds of potatoes, with maybe a bit of buttermilk to wash it down if they were lucky, they would look up to the rafters and point longingly at the side of bacon curing there, knowing that at Christmas or Easter they would be able to add that bacon to the potatoes. Maybe that’s why we love bacon so much in Ireland.
Kinmonth, C. 1999 Survival: Irish material culture and material economy. Folk Life 38(1): 32-41.