Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never-Ending Research Fun

It is a wonder I finish anything nowadays with my shortened attention span. It isn't that I have a lack of focus; I can focus. I just focus in concentrated bursts. Currently, I am reminded about my shortened attention span as I so some research for new tour ideas for the company I work with, Echoes of Nashville. Maybe I enjoy the material too much. As soon as I pull up one resource, I see another one! I have two separate internet programs running, each with over a dozen tabs open. Never mind my books and notes spread about me! I thought I moved on past graduate school! I never wanted to see this much source material again (or so I thought).

The Civil War in Nashville is only one chapter of a
large history book of a major American city.
Part of my problem is that I am developing several ideas at once. Each tentative program has a theme or idea propelling the potential tour. From one resource, I might pull material that will contribute to several different tours. I get to start from scratch how I develop these tours! I get to choose the direction of these tours! I get to build my own foundations for these programs (and continue building)! It is all just so dern exciting! It also means my resources are so broad that I keep falling into that black hole that historians know as "the never-ending story." Learning does not stop, research can feel like it continues forever, and the stories! Those stories are endless.

Maybe it is the story aspect that I am finding the most frustrating, not the abundance of research. All of this material continues to spark ideas of how I can frame the content to present to the public. What stories inherently spark interest? How do the stories connect to fuel interest further? Where will be the best place share this part of the past?

Building the outline of programming may be one of my favorite parts of being an interpreter. Another favorite? Seeing a visitor's spark "ignite" during a program. There is nothing quite like creating a connection to a resource.

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