Completing the first draft of a substantial piece of work is the most stressful and rewarding thing I believe one can do. This blog post marks the completion of the first draft of my work on Populism, Mother Angelica, and EWTN. I worked on the draft over the course of two weeks. Whenever I could find time, I would sit down and type out a few paragraphs. Some days I would sit for about four hours to work on it. I find it easier in my mind to work over the course of a few hours.
The most rewarding aspect of the project was seeing my ideas come together on a paper. This draft is not close to a finished piece of work, but it is the beginning of seeing the whole picture. For example, I was having trouble articulating the transformation of Mother Angelica’s rhetoric over the nineties before beginning the draft. As I was writing the draft, I was able to comprehend that she became more combative and populist as she grew older. This was a concept that I always knew in my mind, but I was able to put it into words when I was writing the draft.
As much as the draft was a relief to write, there are some underlying anxieties that continue to give me stress. First, that I have watched enough of Mother Angelica’s content. EWTN has over 200 of Mother Angelica’s episodes on line for viewing. As an undergraduate with limited time to devote to one research project, I am unable to watch all of these hour long episodes. While I have narrowed my choice of episodes to ones with more controversial themes, I am worried that I might miss interesting content in episodes with more banal themes. For example, what if Mother Angelica gave an intense rant against abortion in her episode on the “Anima Christi” prayer. I skipped this episode due to its focus on a niche Catholic topic. I recognize that every researcher might accidentally overlook important sources, but it is always something in my mind.
I believe that every piece of writing can always be improved on. Everything in this project can be better. If I was going to focus on a more specific topic, I would say that I can improve my treatment of the history of populism in America. It is a large topic that has been studied by many different scholars. Due to the large numbers of studies on it, I can not read every book or article on populism. I do believe that I can improve on the material I already read and provide a general view into Catholic and religious populism in the United States.
In the last month of school, I look forward to improving this project.