Monday, September 22, 2008

A Boring Monday Afternoon Sort of Post

Well, I wish I had it in me to do a post that was not of this variety, but, well, I feel like writing, and I don't have any "topics of the day" that are on my mind about which to write.

I got less done today than my ambitious list of things to do had indicated I wanted to do, but I have made some headway, when all is said and done. Most significantly, I totally cleared off my kitchen counters, cleaned up the filthy cat food area, vacuumed, and took out the trash.

I also, on the work front, took care of some administrative crap for the online class.

You'll notice that I didn't end up going in to the office, didn't deal with bowing out of that other service thing, didn't deal with JWIBSNA related tasks, and, well, didn't do anything else on that list either. I have high hopes that I'll check a couple of more things off the work list before the night is through, but I've decided that even a little productivity should be celebrated and that I'm not going to beat myself up for being less on the ball than I'd hoped to have been today.

In other news, I'm just sort of feeling a bit... listless ... today (in spite of the grand to-do list). Is this some kind of "I turned my tenure binder in" hangover? Perhaps. I think one of the reasons that I didn't drag myself into the office was because I didn't want to be tempted to take the thing back from the dept. office and to play around with it. Also because I didn't want to see the people in my cohort who are also going up running around like mad before turning the binder in. Something about the fact that this is the day that the thing is due had me in a bit of a funk, though I'm not entirely sure why, especially as I already turned mine in. I guess I've been thinking a lot over this weekend about the big questions of "so what?" and "what now?"

I keep thinking that I should be considering what I want, now that I've done the last of the hoop-jumping activities. The fact is, I don't really know. I don't know really what the point of the hoop-jumping has been, nor does it give me much of a sense of accomplishment to have completed it. At the same time, I know this is supposed to be some kind of a milestone or marker. And as for the "what now?" well, I feel like things are pretty much going along like business as usual, which is fine, but it would be nice if there were a greater sense of occasion or if this having the binder out of my hair freed me up in some kind of substantive way. But with teaching four classes, what really could I expect other than to keep trudging along, according to the syllabus?

And then I keep thinking about what I want to do to celebrate when (crossing fingers) I finally get the positive tenure decision. Do I want to throw a party? I hate throwing parties and entertaining in my home, so that seems like a weird thing to consider. Do I want to take a trip? The fact is, I don't really want to spend money on that because I'm trying to get out of debt and save for a house. (Let's not talk about the economy and what that will mean for this goal, as I feel like the best thing I can do is to just keep on with my goals in this area until the sky actually falls, if it hasn't already.) Do I want to buy myself these boots? But if I do, shouldn't I buy them at the start of fall, even though under normal circumstances I'd never spend that much money on a pair of boots, so as to get the most wear out of them? But if I did that, then wouldn't I feel like they weren't really "tenure boots" (ala Profgrrrrl)? I feel as if the bloom would be off the rose by the time the decision was handed down, and thus I'd want to buy another present for myself. In which case buying them would just be an episode of conspicuous consumption. And the fact is, I've got a pair of black boots that is just fine and that's not terribly different from this pair. (I've reached the point where I keep buying the same footwear, with small variations, over and over again. It's kind of ridiculous. I think it's because at a certain point I realized that for me it only makes sense to buy footwear that is either black or brown, and at a certain point, one has all of the black or brown things to put on one's feet that exist in the world.)

And then, what if after all of this, I actually do apply for JWIBSNA and, thinking positively, that goes well, and that ends up meaning that the whole going up for tenure milestone ends up being the milestone that wasn't and I don't actually get to celebrate the milestone because I'll be back on the tenure track? And having to move. The thought of that makes me want to crawl into the bed and never leave it. I don't want for this to have been an exercise in futility. I don't want to fucking move to a new place and to start over (even if I would be awarded time served). I don't give a shit about the fact that it would be a better job than the one I've currently got. I don't even give a shit that it would be a lighter teaching load. I used to give a shit about these things, but now I feel like I'd lose something if I went after them. But all of this musing is stupid, because I know what the market is, and I'm pretty clear on where I stand in the market's trajectory, and the likelihood is that applying for JWIBSNA will end up being a waste of time, paper, and postage, other than that it's good to go on the market periodically because through doing so people realize that you exist in the profession. Seriously: I'm thinking of this more in terms of continuing to engage with the broader profession and having more people see my work and what I'm up to than in terms of actually getting a new job. This may be a self-protective impulse, however.

All of that said, I'm happy I'm not going to MLA this year and that I failed to send a proposal in for the late-winter conference I'd been considering attending. I'm happy that I'm not actually working on any research right now, and that the only research iron I've got in the fire is the article that is still out for review. Note to self: if I don't hear anything by Nov. 1 I need to contact them again. I know that I was an ass for submitting the thing at the start of June, for who expects a normal-time turnaround when all of the reviewers are off and away during the summer, but given the fact that the last word that I had was that one reader had returned their report and that they were waiting on one past-deadline person, I'd really hoped to hear something by now. I'd honestly even be cool with a rejection (though obviously a rejection would sting) because then I could send it out someplace else with a higher acceptance rate. I really do think the thing is worthy of publication, so it's not like I feel like a rejection from this particular journal would be the worst thing that ever happened to me. I just want to know.

That's actually also how I feel about the Collection Article that Languishes. How long has it (and the collection) been languishing, you ask? Like three years. I don't even know whether that article is interesting anymore. And I'd ask the editors about it, but at this point, what the fuck? It's not all the editors - as far as I know the collection went back to the press that was interested in it and asked for revisions. So take this as a warning, peeps: even if journals take an age to get back to you, that process is much less fraught than the edited collection process. I hadn't realized this because my first edited collection publications happened with the minimum of waiting and drama - and that's including one that was stalled for about a year and a half because the publisher was located in lower Manhattan and 9/11 happened. (Happy note: I realized when I did a search in Amazon to see if my page for the book was up yet that the article in that collection is cited a good amount in somebody else's book that came out last year. I feel very fancy and interesting, especially given the fact that this collection article is not in my field of specialization and was based on a seminar paper that I wrote in grad school for a theory seminar. Maybe I am a theoretically interesting person after all, even though I don't consider myself a "theory person"? And perhaps this makes me more confident that I'm currently being styled by my department as a "theory person"?)

So what else? I feel like nothing, really. So I think it's time for dinner.

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