Empiricals; or the Bearable Heaviness of Having-Been

The following chart is based on a more comprehensive (nearly half a century!) file of my output than what I posted on the Chronologically Arranged Listing of Publications page. That one contains around 350 entries (as of May 2020) while this one counts over 400 in all. [Please click on the image for enlargement.]

11011The discrepancies begin with a different start year, owing to the inclusion of articles I’d delisted in the blog version as juvenilia. One difficulty in the method is that it counts any single publication as one. This could range from short reports to books. The 1990s drought, for example, owes to the fact that I’d been writing academic papers during graduate school – many of which got compiled in an encyclopedia as well as in books of mine, accounting for two years’ sudden spikes – alongside my doctoral dissertation (one final spike, in 2017, stemmed from the printing of a second edition of the aforementioned encyclopedia). I noticed as well that the years when I needed to adjust to non-writing jobs tended, logically enough, to impinge on my productivity, requiring a few couple of years for me to bounce back.

11011What struck me about the chart was the apparent high yield during the late 1980s, exceeding my freelance period of 1980-81. From personal experience, however, it felt like I was doing more writing recently than I ever had before – and again, it all boiled down to the question of the nature of output. With my tenured status in a more supportive non-Philippine educational institution, I was able to devote more time to writing, but these focused on academic articles and an occasional book volume.

11011The surest way of determining productivity would be by performing a word count of each entry and tabulating word output per year. That would of course require the kind of dedication to positivist projects that I can no longer muster. A less difficult means would be to count number of pages instead – a predicament for the articles whose copies I no longer possess, and a challenge that requires patience and obsession and time to spare (none of which I have enough of right now). As of this writing (December 2018), the last two years in the chart still have to transpire, so some of the items being counted are finished works awaiting publication, or planned output that I have announced. I imagine (though I don’t hope) that I might be writing to my end of days, so the definitive version of this study, assuming it’s worth completing, may just have to be undertaken by others.

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About Joel David

Teacher, scholar, & gadfly of film, media, & culture. [Photo of Kiehl courtesy of Danny Y. & Vanny P.] View all posts by Joel David

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