I feel like I've wasted my summer. This is a stupid way to feel, for I've actually done a great deal. Nevertheless, I'm in (or at least entering into) the dark place where I feel like unless I get my act together that I will look back over this time and feel like it was wasted.
Like I said, though, I'm actually not being fair to myself. I've accomplished a LOT of research for Housewives and Hussies. I've been amassing a bibliography and detailed notes (I started counting but then lost interest in that - I'd say that since summer began I've probably been through somewhere around 30-40 books, which means that my archive for the project in terms of book-length things on which to draw is probably at around a hundred, and while it's true I've got more to do, it's also true that I'm nearly at the point where I should really begin writing, because that number of sources is not at all including book articles or journal articles or reviews or any other non-monograph type sources, nor is it including primary source material). I've also got about 5 pages of notes that are putting the shape of the project on paper (which I know doesn't sound like a lot, but those are some important pages).
Anyway, and then of course in addition to all that I moved into a new house, wrote and presented a conference paper, reviewed an article for a journal, spent a week doing home improvements with my mother, visited my hometown, threw my first dinner party, and who the heck knows what else. In other words, I must stop beating myself up for not being productive. I'm a productive lady.
Of course, I'd feel a lot MORE productive if I were actually accomplishing tangible goals - i.e., finished with the r and r I've had hanging over my head for an age, or producing actual draft pages of Housewives and Hussies. The problem as I see it is that I keep finding excuses not to write. One of those excuses is another thing that I need to do that I haven't been able to motivate myself to do - which is planning for the conference that I'm hosting next spring and dealing with other stuff related to the group for which I'm hosting it.
So. Today. Today is the day that I'm going to get a TON of things accomplished for that conference stuff. In addition, I'm going to accomplish a lot for that other group. I also need to run some errands (return some things to M@cy's, go use a gift card, bank, library). And I have to make myself do this stuff because if I can make myself do this stuff, then I won't have excuses not to do the writing stuff that I'm finding it difficult to motivate myself to do.
And I actually have a real post upcoming about Housewives and Hussies in which I reveal that I'm a snob and that in spite of the fact that I know it's interesting, I have no desire to write a book that examines popular television commercials or sit coms in order to provide context for the high-brow television that I find most compelling. I actually think that there is something special about the Cable Series As Art Form, and in spite of people's desires for me to be a new historicist, I am not a new historicist. (And, this whole belief in the specialness of one thing as opposed to another pretty much means that I'm a liberal humanist disguised as a postmodern sort of person, but I'm going to pretend that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.) Oh, and that's another thing. While it may seem like I'm still in the very fuzzy stages of this project, I'm actually not. I'm talking about the project fuzzily still, but in fact I am pretty set on where it's heading. I see the shape of it very clearly, and I see how the chapters build together. I have an outline that is probably sick in its level of detail. In other words, don't trust me when I say that I'm not sure where I'm going yet. I'm actually pretty freaking sure, but I'm not ready to tell people yet so I pretend I don't know. This is a trick of obfuscation that I learned in grad school - to pretend that one's ideas are "fuzzy" when really they are just "private." It sort of makes me sick doing that, but old habits die hard.
3 years ago