So you all know that I've got a conference coming up in the near-ish future. The paper that I will give is related to the Next Book, at least in theory. I say at least in theory because, well, let's just say that the paper is at this point only a vague idea inside of my brain.
But so anyway, the program for the conference is up online, and I took a gander at the schedule yesterday, and I'm a little... concerned. Somehow, I have been placed on a panel with Very Super-Important Guy. (I am not exaggerating his very super-importance: he literally is THE authority on the author whose work on which I'll present.) Now, VSIG and I are friendly, and I've known him since like 1996 (the only reason that this is important is that when I first met VSIG I didn't realize how very super-important he was, because I was clueless, and so only was intimidated after the fact because really he's incredibly nice and generous, which probably served me well, in the long run, but still). But it's one thing to be friendly with VSIG in a "let's chat and have a glass of wine at MLA" way, and entirely another to be on a freaking panel with him with work that does not yet even exist. And, beyond not wanting to embarrass myself in front of VSIG, his very super importantness means that a goodly number of OTHER very super important people will likely attend the panel, too, so there is a HUGE potential for me to make an utter and complete ass of myself.
I suppose the bright side of this is that I realized it all while I still have time to do something about it. There was another conference a few years ago where he showed up unexpectedly in the audience to hear the paper that I was presenting, and that was scary indeed, so at least in this scenario I'm forewarned. Of course, the dark underbelly of this situation, though, is that it's not like I can focus on this paper at all over the next month in the way that I really need to do because I'm motherfucking moving and school is ending and I'm on a search committee and I have no time to do anything other than crap this paper together.
So, readers, let this be a lesson to you. Don't write abstracts in January for vague and fuzzy ideas that you will then have to turn into super-polished work by June. It's very anxiety-producing.
1 year ago