понедельник, апреля 18, 2016

Model Planes and Scholarship

I've taken up a hobby--assembling model planes.
Well, it's, so to speak, a hobby: I don't really do this often enough for it to count as a permanent activity. I assembled a MiG-15 last summer, and have started assembling a MiG-29 now, which will take some time to complete, given how slowly I'm moving along.
It's a curiously relaxing activity, to assemble model planes. I enjoy the moments when I'm not paying attention to anything else other than how to do a proper layer of paint, or how much cement glue to use. In this sense, this is an activity that resembles scholarship.
This is not the only similarity between model planes and journal articles or scholarly monographs. To wit:

  • Both, at least to me, are founded on moments of introspection and focus on very tiny details;
  • Both are, for the most part, self-centered activities. I'm not interested in displaying my models in a museum or anything like that (they're not good enough);
  • The process is painstakingly long, involves many steps, many of which repetitive or reiterative;
  • The process involves as much handwork (putting together things, making sure they fit, etc.) as creativity;
  • The finished product ends up lying on a bookshelf in my office, not quite forgotten, but more like a memento of some hours of loneliness and, paradoxically, of fun.

That's about it. If only I could produce articles as fast as I produce model planes...