I have been flailing with figuring out where to start writing this thing. No luck. I've written three pages of outlines in my notebook, still no luck. I reread the scholarship notes I'd made a few weeks ago. You get it.
Then I wrote
Where I'm going:
And here's what I discovered.
I'm going to take my audience through a brief review of two unlikely writers of investigation--Poe, who did it consciously, and Chambers, who did it as a consequence of his other narrative strategies--into a brief review of some 20th-century elements of detective fiction, ranging from the gumshoe to the ineffective detective. I'll then talk about the epistemology of investigation and how that leads into an aesthetics of investigation. From there, I'll discuss how the dominant tropes of detective fiction help shape that aesthetics of investigation with regard to the aesthetics of crime, investigation, and redemption. Next will come the definition of the artist-investigator, along with how Chambers, Lovecraft, and Cohle and Hart in True Detective are aligned with that definition. I'll wrap up by taking questions.
I think what I have in my notebook is everything without connections, and writing that paragraph helped me establish them.