Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Long and Winding Saturday Night Sort of Post

So between the whole workweek experiment and the end of the semester and the Music Meme that Ate Crazy's Blog, I've not done a post about much of substance recently. I fear that it is essential for me to use bullets, as I have no energy to organize my thoughts in any sort of systematic way. That said, these aren't really random bullets, as they'll be too lengthy for that, I suspect.
  • So today I cleaned my kitchen (like for real cleaned, as opposed to just spot-cleaned). It's part of Housecleaning Weekend of Preparing for the Arrival of Crazy's Parents, which happens Thursday. See, Stepdad will be staying here with the Man-Kitty (they are BFFs) while my mom and I go to New York. I've got to admit, while I'm theoretically excited about this trip, I've been so swamped with stuff I'm not really ready or excited in practice. I'm hoping that this changes in the next day or two.
  • Did I mention that I never mailed off that article I'd aimed to have done and mailed off Apr. 1? Well, I knew there was something wrong with it, so I let it "age." And having gone back to it, I've figured out the problems, and I should be able to send it off on Tuesday. I actually was thinking about how that worked when I read Sisyphus's update on her dissertation. See, because this is the thing that I've realized about myself: I can't do the "write first" thing, nor can I do the "little bit every day" thing when I'm trying to get actual usable pages hammered out. I need to just binge on the writing for that. Now, I can do the little bit every day thing once that's done - when I'm editing, when I'm fleshing out, when I've got it solidly in hand. I can also do a little bit each day when I'm in the research only phase at the very, very beginning. But in the early writing to middle phases, I need to just immerse myself in it and binge on the writing. What that's meant in this job is that I've used whole weekends during the semester, or breaks, for "real" writing. Realizing that about myself has gone a long way toward eliminating guilt. Also realizing that I'll never be a person who "writes first" before doing anything else. Exactly one time I've gotten up in the morning and done something for a publication first, and that was a bibliography. While this may happen again sometime, I don't bank on it. And you know what? That's ok. It's not about writing the "right" way - it's about writing the way that is productive for you. It's what I tell my students, and it's good advice for us all. But so yes, the "article" is almost at the point of actually being an "article."
  • In other research news, I've got to do some (small) changes to the book manuscript that would never be finished. I know, you all thought I was done with the manuscript. So, too, did I. However, in negotiating for one of the crucial copyright permissions, it has become apparent that I still have a wee bit of work to do. This should take like two days to accomplish. I plan to get on that in the week after this. When this is done, the confirmation of this final essential permission should have arrived, and I will send my stuff off to my editor, and then, in theory, this means the book will be out in November. Just at the moment when, if all goes well, I will be presenting at the absolute perfect conference at which to advertise said book to people who will care about it. I've already got at least two people who've committed to reviewing it (one of whom contacted me out of the blue because he'd just heard about it - from whom, I've no idea), and a third I can probably count on for doing so. In other words, the book nonsense comes ever closer to being a reality.
  • With all of the book stuff coming to a close, as with tenure looming, I've been thinking a good bit about where I go from here publication wise. Dare I say it - I want to start on another book project I think! But a lot of that desire comes from my desire to apply for a sabbatical immediately upon receiving tenure. (We get no pre-tenure sabbaticals here, and a book project would justify the application.) But another part of me thinks that maybe I'd like to focus on articles for a while. Probably I could convince the committee who considers such applications to give me a sabbatical with a proposal to use the time to develop 3 articles or something. But I'm not sure whether or what I should do. On the one hand, a book project would be best in some ways.... Articles have sort of fallen into my lap, and a semester of sustained time would allow me to make excellent headway on a new book. This would make me marketable for a move (if I want that) or it would put me in a position to apply for full in the next 7 years. (Yes, I've already got my eyes on that, if I remain here. Because, shit, promotion to full would mean that I'd be at the top of the pay scale. And yes, it's only money that motivates my desire for that.) But then I think that I could focus on articles instead and maybe do a textbook, which would also put me in position for full here, and which could (potentially) make money. Hmmm.
  • In other news, I've been thinking a lot about my Imminent Kitten. I've procured a scratching post for said kitten (an (un)used one from BFF's kitty Flo - Flo rejected it because she loved her One True Scratching Post from her kittenhood) and I've been doing a fair bit of thinking about naming and pseudonyming. See, here's the thing. On the one hand, I am no longer as paranoid as I once was when I felt that the Man-Kitty needed a pseudonym because people would potentially identify Crazy through her cat. On the other, it would really be mean to the Imminent Kitten if he didn't get respected as much as the Man-Kitty - not getting a pseudonym when the Man-Kitty has one. Thus, I need two names - not just a "real" name for the IK, but also a pseudonym. I shall think on both in the coming weeks. By the by, the Mother of Crazy is supportive of the addition to the family, which is certainly a good thing since she will be watching the kitties when Crazy is in Lebanon.
  • I did not mention this to you all, but last weekend I had an excellent shopping trip to the Macy's, where I procured the following: new handbag (orig. $75 - on sale $33), blouse (orig. $59 - on sale $17), blouse ($50 - on sale $19), cardigan (orig. $130 - on sale $26), 2 sports bras (orig. $39 each - on sale $7 each). Might I just note that all of these things are fabulous (a) and that the sports bras are the most comfortable I've ever owned (b)?
  • What else? Well, I'm concerned that two of my students in the Best Class Ever did not submit their papers, worth 30% of their final grade? Not cool, friends. Not cool at all. (I'm especially worried about one who's a really good student. The other, well, I'm not so surprised.)
  • I should also note that I'm SCARY and that one student had some sort of INCIDENT that I feared related to a paper he had to write for me. BFF and I consulted, and it turns out we had this student in common and she feared that the INCIDENT was because of a novel she'd assigned. The point is, wow, students freak out at this time of the semester.
  • You want to know about Crazy's personal life? Dude! I've been busy! FB hangs around, sickly and grumpy. I've been thinking about getting back on Match, though I'm quite exhausted at the moment.
  • Moonlight might be the queerest (in the most politically correct way possible) show on television. Oh, Mick St. John. You slay me.
  • In other news, I've discussed Imminent Kitten with the Man-Kitty. The first of these conversations occurred upon my return home yesterday, when the Man-Kitty smelled an Interloper (or two). In other words, I went to pet him, and he smelled Kittens. I explained the situation to him. His response? Well, initially there was a great deal of purring, and then he proceeded to mark me with his mouth and neck. And then he meowed for dinner. I believe this is the best response for which I could hope. To put words in his mouth, I believe he attempted to communicate: "I'm not sure about this, but at least it's not a dog. And you do realize that I continue to be the King of the Castle, yes? Still, I shall enjoy having someone whom I can force to play with me, unlike you, you lame, lame owner."
Yes, I believe that's all the news.


Stampy said...

I've recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed digging through the archives reading about your progress from 'dissertation to book'. I'm really struggling with my own at the moment, so it's good to read about someone else's experiences. I'm on the final revision - responding to the few changes suggested by the reviewers, and to my own inner critic (who's a big meany!). The biggest barrier to my submitting the text to the publisher is the thought that, once it enters copy-editing, I won't be able to make any further changes. In short, that this version is IT. I was cheered to hear that you're still able to make small changes to your manuscript and I wanted to ask what stage of the process you're at? I just need a little (well, ok, a lot!) help throwing the manuscript out of the nest!

negativecapability said...

I love the idea, and it always boggles my mind that something like this doesn't exist already. I always just do the custom thing like you do, because I find those giant brick-type books utterly useless.

Sisyphus said...

Random bullets of response:

- _That_ grumpy grandson is your other FB? I am impressed, and want to hear details of his grumpiness.

- I also want to see The Book and hope that the thing you're going to is the same I'm going to, because, hey! I have a thing! And hanging out at said thing should be fun.

- Imminent Kitten is almost cool enough to be a permanent pseudonym, although I could see him growing up to be a surly teenager and not being happy with permanent kittenhood in his name.

- The plus side of a cheap and small anthology is that students get their moneys worth and feel like they've really accomplished something by devouring an entire text. The down side would be: what if the instructor hated some of the materials? Would people be less likely to adopt it if they hated one of the stories and there wasn't much choice?

- I'm impressed at the idea of starting a whole new book! Have you got ideas for things?

- I can't do the binge-writing thing and still stay sane. If I try, I work for about an hour and then take the rest of the day off in frustration. That isn't to say that that way isn't a good way, but that everyone should experiment around and find what works for them.

- It's hot here and my apartment is not cooling off tonight.

Whew! What a note!

Dr. Virago said...

On the textbook idea -- frankly, I don't use anthologies for intro lit courses. I assign stand-alone novels and plays and create a course pack (or now, use electronic reserves) for the poetry and short stories. But your idea reminds me of the Reading the Lives of Others composition anthology, and I always liked that one.

Dude, really, is it *that* grandson of a famous author? Wow, he is the King of Cranks. You do have some magical touch!

And good to know that I'm not the only one watching Moonlight. Yeah, that scene with Used-to-be-Veronica-Mars'-BF and Mick was as queer as queer can be and REALLY HOT. No wonder Mick can't let himself love Ms. Pretending-to-be-American whose English accent keeps coming through. (Damn, what's the character's name??) Mick, on the other hand, rarely reveals his Aussie roots.

On that note, what's with all the pretend American's on tv these days?

Belle said...

IK: Have you decided which of the babies to bring home to Man-Kitty?

Moonlight is good, but I do miss the humor of Angel. Mick St John is more lush though. In a major way.

Book, working and new: wow. Just. Wow. You go Crazy!