One of the main problems I’ve had since I started writing Margins is that I’ll often begin to write a story, eventually get distracted, and either forget about it, lose interest, or just run out of steam. Occasionally I’ll find the time or interest to pick it back up and bring it to completion, but most often not. If there’s a downside to interest-driven research, it’s that your interest can evaporate before you’ve seen it through.
Most of the time, the drafts I have waiting in the wings don’t even resemble a story. Sometimes, like the Pestalozzi College story I might have chewed your ear about in the summer of 2015, the story is close to completion, but needs an additional push. In fact, this is actually how my Master’s thesis started. Writing about the Ottawa Lowren Housing Company was supposed to be a lengthy story for this site to be pushed out in 2013. After having amassed a body of archival and other materials, I set to write and just stalled out after a few thousand words. In some ways I think it’s fitting that I’ve picked it up in this way.
Truth be told, there were other topics that I could have gone with for my Master’s. I chose to write about Lowren because I happen to think that affordable rental housing is one of the most important policy issues we face and that looking back to previous efforts may result in new solutions, approaches, or tactics. In addition to the Ottawa Lowren Housing Company, I also have a similar pile of materials and long draft for the development of Manor Park and Louis and Douglas Macdonald. There are also a number of other items that I’ve had in mind for years, have folders with gigabytes of materials, but lack even a draft. For everything I have a start on it may take decades to pick it all up, but I’ll get there eventually.