Monday, August 09, 2010

Dr. Crazy's Moved House

Not only in real life space but apparently in cyberspace as well. I may do an actual farewell post over here, or this may be it. Who knows. Anyhoodle, you can now find me at Reassigned Time 2.0.

Has Officially Had It With Spam....

And thinks it may be time to move to Wordpress. But I've been screwing around on wordpress for the past 45 minutes and can I just say that the thought of having to redesign my stupid blog and deal with moving and blah is very annoying to me? Grumble. If I move, never fear - I shall direct you to the new location. Still haven't decided yet, though.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

In Which I Am Filled with Positivity (Because Complaining is Exhausting)

Anyway, I'm feeling quite chipper this morning and so I thought I should post so that you all would see how I'm actually feeling most of the time, as opposed to seeing me rant and rave and brood as I feel like I've been doing a lot on the blog of late. I think the broodiness is really just part of my process as a researcher/writer, and it's not really how I am 90% of the time, but the blog becomes the place where I put a lot of that, and so I think it seems like I'm this miserable wretch of a girl, which really isn't true for the most part.

But so anyway. I was looking at what I'd accomplished over the summer (because part of my problem is that summer is coming to a close and I feel a bit at loose ends without having the start of the semester to motivate me), and you know, I've done quite a lot, really. No. I haven't done everything I'd dreamed I'd do, but looking at my binder of book-writing goodness, it becomes clear that I've gone through something like 60 scholarly books (some with more attention and some with less, but still) and I have reams of notes - some of which are in paragraph form and can be transported directly into a draft - and I've got a clear outline and argument for the book. So no, I don't have tons of words written in a coherent way, but I'm on my way, regardless.

I would like it though if I didn't have to read Habermas, still. Or reread. But whatever. It hurts my feelings that Habermas cannot be avoided, but I know that Habermas cannot be avoided, and that is unfortunate.

In other news, this week I received my $8K from Uncle Sam for buying my awesome house. On the one hand, the money is burning a hole in my pocket. On the other, I do not want to just piss the money away. Anyway. So the first thing I'm going to do with that money is to pay off the credit card on which I have been putting purchases for the new house (everything from moving expenses to a new vacuum cleaner to paint to curtains to my new door, and, as of this morning, furniture for my porch). Now, doing that was a good thing because I had 0% interest on those purchases until Oct. 1, so I'll pay that off and will not have paid any interest on any of my moving things. But then I'll still be left with a good chunk of change. Now. I know that what I should do is to get estimates for getting the outside of my house stained first, and also to get somebody to put a cover over my chimney so wild animals don't decide to live and die in there. But then I'll still have a tiny bit of money left after that. I am thinking very seriously about buying a Kindle.... I mean, I deserve a present, right? My birthday is coming up..... Who has a Kindle? Thoughts?

The big thing is that I don't want to just piss this 8K away. I want to be very clear about where that money goes or has gone. I want to know how I spent it. Ah well. There's no reason why I need to spend it all immediately, so I will bide my time and wait until I really know what I want to buy with what remains.

Hmm. What else? Well, in like a week and a half FL* is coming for a few days for a visit, so that will be fun, and then my parents are going to come for a visit over Labor Day. I want to have another dinner party soon, but I've also been thinking about having a bigger housewarming party, though I'm not sure whether it makes sense to do that while on sabbatical. Maybe I should do that only after I'm back from sabbatical.

At any rate, on today's agenda is to do some stuff around the house, and then I shall do some more theory-reading. The brief respite that we'd had from the heat is now over, and that sucks because I really enjoyed having all of my windows open yesterday. But with heat indexes for today and the rest of the week topping 100, I embrace my air conditioning.

Wow, I really don't feel like accomplishing things. Perhaps I'll call some people up on the phone before I buckle down and try to get things done.

*For those of you who don't recall, FL is my first love, and we have now known one another for 20 years, which, as I said to him on the phone last night, my 15-year-old self NEVER would have thought that at 35 I'd be talking to that fool on the phone still. We've actually been talking a lot lately. Dunno what to think about that, but I suppose there's nothing to think about, really. We go through phases, and apparently we're going through one now.

Friday, August 06, 2010

I Guess a Post about Sabbatical-ing, in Which I Complain a Lot

I know that I haven't written in an age. This is in part because much of my energy has been taken up since a week ago with not really knowing where I want to go next with Housewives and Hussies. Things are percolating. Fermenting. Marinating. You know. All of that stuff that has to happen passively. And then I have to feel guilty about the fact that I'm not actively "producing" anything, and that takes more energy. And after all that? Well, clearly I need a nap, and I don't have anything left over for blogging.

So now I have a stockpile of things that I might write about on the blog but I don't really know that I want to write a whole and entire post about any of them. I know. That is irritating. I'm even irritating to myself. So let me talk about my sabbatical and how I'm feeling about it and maybe you'll get an idea of what's going on with me and why I've been so quiet of late.

My sabbatical doesn't technically begin until the middle of the month (so like another week and a half), but I've been considering the summer as part of my sabbatical since I had an award that meant I was paid to do research this summer and was prohibited from teaching. Now, as I began with the leave time, I got a lot of advice and words of wisdom from people. Advice about taking time just to rest; advice about allowing oneself to enjoy oneself in this time, etc. And I have done those things. And, actually, in addition to resting and having fun I'd say that I got a good amount of work done, even considering the fact that I moved and all of that.

But I've found myself over this summer feeling a lot of stupid envious feelings, which I think has to some extent gotten in the way of me enjoying what I do have with this time as well as getting in the way of me celebrating what I have accomplished. See, lots of people I know in my academic generation are beginning their first sabbaticals, too, and they are either a) traveling to fabulous places, and in one case actually living in the fabulous place "abroad" for the time of the sabbatical; b) able to take a whole year instead of the one semester that I can afford (and this envy isn't just about money - it then feeds into the envy about people having partners whose jobs can carry the partner who gets a 40% salary reduction and then I don't have a partner and then woe is me I'm going to die alone and this is bullshit); c) I feel like everybody's work is more interesting than mine, more important than mine, and more ... just MORE than mine, so not only am I trapped in the United States, with only 4 months of sabbatical leave where other people get the whole academic year, desperately alone, but on top of that my research is stupid.

Now. I do realize that all of the above is pathetic and self-pitying and not only not useful but also not even how I really feel. Or, well, I feel those things, every now and again, but I also the majority of the time feel like I don't want anybody's life but my own because my life is pretty great.

And then I'm also feeling irritated about the fact that it's the start of the academic year and that as much as I want to be totally checked out from what's happening at my university and my department I'm not. Instead, I'm trying really hard to force myself away (which I know is good) but then certain things find their way to me anyway, and then I feel like I want to punch people in the face. Like, for example, I've got this colleague who... Ok, the most diplomatic way that I can put this is that this colleague's scheduling needs have had an impact on my teaching schedule (both in terms of times that I've taught as well as in the courses that I've taught) in a number of different semesters. I am sick of it. And yet, what's the first thing I hear when I pop into the office to check my mailbox? That once again this colleague may well be being accommodated and that it may well affect my rotation of courses. And I am sick of it. This colleague is unpleasant, doesn't carry hir share of the service burden, and students hate the colleague. Why in God's name don't we tell this person to suck it? Because I would really like to tell this person to suck it. But, if I were to do that, it would make other people's lives difficult and I don't really want to do that to them, and so.... Yeah. (Anyway, knowing the track record of this person I feel like this is probably going to come to nothing anyway because zie will change hir mind at the last minute, but whatever.)

And then I'm also irritated by the fact that my department chair had asked that people on sabbatical come to the department retreat (even though we are not supposed to have to go to it according to the faculty handbook) and I know that some people are just not going to show up, and I know that if I show up and they don't that it will fill me with rage, but on the other hand, I feel like it might be stupid of me not to go to the retreat because I know that we will discuss some important things and also it's really hard for me not to do what my chair asks. Colleague Friend suggested that I just plan to be out of town and that way I wouldn't need to worry about making an excuse, but that sticks in my craw. I don't want to lie or to shirk. What I want to do is to be up front with my chair about the fact that it's bullshit that I'll be at this thing while other people just ignore his request and that is why I won't be there - or won't be there for the whole time (because I can imagine wanting to be there for a couple of items that I think will be on the agenda). Gah.

But see? I feel like I have all of the irritation of the academic year without any of the joy of being excited about teaching my classes. And I also have hit this block with the book, feeling like it's lame and like I'll never finish it anyway so what's the point? (That last bit isn't true. It's just how one feels at this point in a project I think. I've done enough now that I see exactly how much I have left to do, and that's daunting.)

So. I'm going to go and attempt to make some headway with research (a) and with the conference I'm planning (b). Wish me luck.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Literary Criticism, Some Thoughts

As I've been getting to the writing stage with Housewives and Hussies, I've been thinking a lot about what I appreciate in literary criticism, what I dislike in literary criticism, and what I think about what makes good scholarship and what makes a solid engagement with scholarship. You might think that you should stop reading now if you're not in English Studies, or in literary studies more specifically, but if you bear with me for a bit I think I might have some things to say that might actually be generalizable and that might start an interesting conversation.

I wrote the following in a recent post and I feel now like I should have said more, or been clearer, so that's where I'll begin:

"One of the things that I struggle with . . . is that I ultimately do believe that there is something special about literature and I have little-to-no interest in doing the work of a historian by analyzing pop culture of the time or advertisements or whatever. . . . Not that I think it's a bad thing to do interdisciplinary research - my research is that, actually - but I really hate literary criticism that seems like it doesn't actually care about literature."

First things first: I am not at all saying in the above passage that there is not a place for cultural criticism, nor am I saying that there is something wrong with a new historicist approach that values "low culture" texts alongside high culture ones, or that values an attention to popular reading trends as opposed to the reading trends of an intellectual elite. What I'm saying in the above is that I am bothered by literary criticism - and this can be oriented in a variety of ways - that puts the literature in the background. This happens with many approaches. One approach that can encourage this is a new historicist approach, wherein the critic chooses to focus more attention on the popular media and historical sources of the time than on the Lit'rature. But this also happens with theoretically oriented criticism (come on, you've read books or articles where people have used the literature to advance a theory rather than engaging theory to understand the literary text, and yes, I do believe that there is a difference between the two) and it happens with biographically oriented criticism (wherein the Great Man - D.H. Lawrence, Priest of Love, as just one example - or Great Lady - Virginia Woolf, Bipolar Lesbian Victim of Sexual Abuse, as just one example - overshadows the text that supposedly is the point). I could probably list more genres of literary criticism that perpetrate the "I'm going to pay attention to everything but the literary text" thing, but the point is, I have a hard time with criticism, from whatever perspective, that is more interested in "something else" other than literary texts. Because here's the thing: if one is doing literary criticism, I really think that the primary thing that we should be discussing is literature. That probably makes me ridiculously old-fashioned. Fine. I'm old-fashioned. But I don't think I'm wrong.

Part of the reason that I've been thinking fairly deeply about these issues is, of course, self-centered: I'm trying to figure out how to write the sort of book I enjoy reading. But I think these things are nagging at me for bigger reasons, too. Some questions that have been nagging at me throughout my recent reading and writing:
  • What happens when people who are interested in issues or texts that are marginal to the mainstream canon focus their attention away from literature in their research? The canon is still political, and it strikes me that if marginalized literatures don't get the same amount/kind of attention as do historically canonical literatures, than we are left with separate but equal canons - we've not really revised or opened up the Canon at all. In fact, we reify the canonical (primarily dead, white, male canon as the "real" canon) and then we associate anyone outside of that canon with tendencies that are marginal to being "worth" canonical status.
  • What happens to a discipline - or, to be fair, really a subdiscipline within English Studies, literary studies - when its practitioners fail to see that subdiscipline as having an obligation to produce new knowledge about literature? Is it really so shocking that people question the value of literary studies - notoriously in the annual newspaper articles that pick out wild titles from the MLA program - when it doesn't seem that practitioners in the field are analyzing and coming to greater understanding of literary texts? If we don't demonstrate the centrality of literature as an object of study, why should we think that anybody else will think literature is valuable?
  • How do the first two points intersect and contribute to "the crisis in the humanities" and to generally anti-intellectual cultural discourses?
But so if those are the general questions that keep recurring as I work, more specific ones have to do with women's literature. I think that there is value in situating women writers within a broader canon of literature - not to show how they are "like" their male peers but rather because if we keep women writers off to the margins that it seems we never challenge some oftentimes problematic (if not altogether wrong) commonplaces about the features of canonical literature of particular time periods. At least for me, this means that it's important to look at "literary" works by women - because while considerations of romance novels and chick lit and conduct literature are totally interesting, they just don't do the work that I think needs to be done in terms of the broader subdiscipline, and I think that focusing our attention on popular as opposed to literary works creates a kind of ghetto in which women authors are considered "popular" while male authors are considered "important" and women authors who could easily stand alongside those "important" men have their books fall out of print.

While all of this may seem very field-specific, reading this post over at Historiann's made me think that it really isn't. I wonder about the ways in which contemporary approaches to scholarship - within my field, yes, but also across humanities disciplines - results in keeping certain groups marginal, subordinate, and generally out of academic and public discourse. Further, I wonder if these trends in scholarship ultimately contribute to a public sense that what we do is insignificant, lacking in seriousness, or without value. I wonder, too, how much various approaches have to do with attempting to respond to the demands of a marketplace for scholarship that is severely constrained - is it possible that the effects of the horrible job market and the contraction in academic publishing are to enforce limits on the kind of scholarship that make their way into public view?

I don't really have answers to any of the above, but I think that there are serious implications to the methodologies that we choose - not just for the way that we think individually but also for our disciplines and for the profession more generally. And yes, it is bad to think about all of that because it makes what I'm trying to do seem really overwhelming sometimes, but I also kind of have to think about that because otherwise why would I bother doing this project at all? Because, seriously, it's really hard and I could totally just write a couple of articles and call it a day and nobody where I work would care and I wouldn't have to think about the consequences of scholarship in quite the same way.

Now. Enough of all of that thinking. I need to do some straightening up around the house because, slightly behind schedule but still happening, it is VPW (Vagina Power Weekend, in case you forgot), an annual tradition since 2007. This year J. will be joining A. and I for her first ever Vagina Power. It promises to be awesome.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finding a Groove?

So. Yesterday I was supposed to begin writing. I really had every intention of doing so. Like, for serious. Except... ok, so here's the thing about me actually doing the writing. I cannot attempt to violate my natural writing rhythms. Not at the beginning of a project. So I had this grand ambition that I was going to awaken and just begin composing yesterday, and that was stupid, because you know how people say you should "write first" before doing anything else? I know that doesn't work for me. Know it. Have had problems every time I've tried to do it. I know that what I should do if I really intend to write is to wake up, ease into the day with coffee and some reading, make notes about what I plan to do over the course of the day, and then, somewhere around 3 hours after waking up and after some lunch, then I should begin. And I will then accomplish as much in just a couple of hours as it might have taken me all day - or even a number of days - to accomplish.

Anyway, the point here is that yesterday was a wash because I was trying to pretend that I'm a different writer from the writer I actually am, and so somewhere around 7:30 last night I decided that today I would just go about it the way that feels comfortable and not the way that feels like how I'm "supposed" to do it. And so. I woke up, drank a pot of coffee while reading some things, made some notes, and then had lunch. I retired to the Nook at approximately 1 PM, at which time I sat down and organized 3 different conference papers that should form building blocks for the current chapter, and then after doing that I began writing. Rough writing. Not the kind of writing I'd ever show anybody. But I wrote. I wrote 3 brand new pages, and jammed into that three new pages are 4 other pages of stuff that once revised fits with what I'm getting at. Now, of course I need to do things like add critical context and to theorize what I'm doing and whatever, but the point here is that I have begun, the world has not come to an end, and I'm feeling totally good about the direction in which I'm headed. In large part, I think that my success does have to do with the Nook of Ideas. Which I just realized I've not shown to you all. here are some pictures.

First, the view to the right from my chair at my desk:

And then, looking at my desk from the doorway into the Nook:

Another post will be forthcoming in a bit... I did want to write more about the literary criticism stuff that I brought up a post or two ago in response to comments and in response to some further thinking about it on my part. But I need to make some notes for tomorrow before I lose momentum, so that will have to wait.

(Oh, and before you ask, Comrade Physioprof, there is a space below those books on that shelf of the desk where the MFJ can reside, should such measures be in order :) )

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Which I Think about How H&H is NOT My Dissertation

So. When I came up with the idea for Housewives and Hussies, I had a fair amount of anxiety about what the project would mean to me in terms of my mental and emotional well-being. On the one hand, I was worried because when I think back to dissertating - which was the last time I embarked on something like this - well, that was a fairly dark time filled with a lot of angst. Part of that darkness and angst had to do with feeling as if I wasn't qualified to do what I was doing - like I didn't know what a dissertation was, like even if I thought I knew what one was that I was going to do a terrible job at it, like my ideas were just generally stupid, etc. I suspect a good number of you went through the same thing. And I was afraid when I started H and H that I was just asking to go back to that dark and angsty place. Which, let's face it, I did not want to do. On the other hand, I think that the beginning of this project has been especially scary because I came up with the idea with little-to-no input from anybody else. While my dissertation project idea was my own, the shape of the project was very powerfully influenced (and constrained) by my adviser and by my committee. By the time that I got to the book phase with the project, it sort of felt like I was polishing up something that wasn't entirely mine, but also that was so carefully crafted that I couldn't make sweeping changes to it. And, with my 4/4 load, I didn't feel like I was in a position to just scrap it and start a new project without a sabbatical if I wanted to publish a book before tenure, which I did, and so, I published a book that didn't really feel like it was mine, but I was confident that it was ok, if that makes sense. With this project, I feel like I don't know whether the idea is any good, really, even though I think that it's exciting, I don't entirely know whether it is exciting, if that makes sense. And sure, I've talked in a general way with others about it, and they seem interested, but who among them really would say "Oh, that sounds like a terrible idea!" People just don't do that when you're not a student anymore. And so, yes, starting on this is a pretty scary thing.

But. It's weird, because one of the things I've been thinking about a lot lately is that for as much anxiety and fear as I've felt in really getting going on Housewives and Hussies, I've also been pleasantly surprised that working on this is not at all like how I felt when beginning work on the dissertation. Let me count the ways in which it is infinitely more awesome:
  1. Virginia Woolf was right that you need money and a room of your own in order to write. Material conditions make a huge difference in what one can accomplish and how one feels about accomplishing it, whether we're talking about creatively or whether we're talking about scholarship. It makes a difference that I'm not constantly worried about money. It makes a difference that I'm not living in a crappy apartment (or, as I did for 3 months during the diss process, with my parents). It makes a difference that the material conditions of my life are not distracting me. In other words, I will never be interested in becoming some sort of starving artist or scholar. Not that I ever thought I would be, but seriously: far from thinking such a thing is romantic and awesome, I know now more than ever that for me it's misery. This is also why I never could have been a hippie.
  2. I have learned so much in the 10 years since I started dissertating, and a lot of what I've learned has happened since finishing my Ph.D. Teaching, and teaching the kind of students whom I teach and the number of courses that I teach, has given me depth and breadth and focus as a thinker that graduate school absolutely did not give me. I find that I have all of these resources in my brain that provide context for the thing that I'm thinking about and that I make connections so much more quickly than I did before. Weirdly, I think I kind of know a whole lot about what I'm talking about and like I might - at least a little - sort of be an expert.
  3. I've found my voice as a writer, and a lot of that has to do with blogging, but also it has to do with the confidence that comes from knowing that I've already done what I'm trying to do. Instead of being in a constant state of anxiety - will I get a job? Will anybody publish my scholarship? - I have the security of a job and a respectable cv. My life will not be over if this takes longer than I want or if it changes along the way.
  4. Nobody cares whether I write this book or not. In graduate school, a lot of people had an investment in me writing that dissertation and in how I wrote it, and that for me was not a good thing. I have been infinitely more interesting and more productive as a scholar since I left an environment where people gave a shit about research. The fact of the matter is, I do best when I feel like my research is nobody's business but my own - sort of like how my blog works for me because it doesn't "count" for anything. Once something counts, I begin to despise it. It stops being fun. This book is ridiculously fun to work on precisely because it's only for me and for nobody else.
  5. As much as not having some authority figure put the stamp of the approval on my idea is scary, I feel like I own this project because no one has done that. I finally feel like I'm a professional in my field and not somebody's student. And that, as much as it's scary, is really exhilarating.
When I was dissertating I was making ~12K/year, living with a guy who was only sporadically employed, totally intellectually insecure, afraid to fail, suffering from periodic bouts of writer's block (the only time I've experienced those, and quite frequently miserable. This time around, not one of those things is the case. Realizing that, and realizing that I'm still doing it without all of the misery, is sort of like realizing that being in love doesn't mean fighting all the time and jealousy and unhappiness and hurting and being hurt by the other person and drama. It's kind of a profound epiphany. And I really have a feeling, though I suppose I could be wrong, that it's going to make for a better book in the end.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Breaking Through

I'm going to begin writing Housewives and Hussies on Monday. I hit that point today - and a glorious point it is - when I saw the entire project whole and entire, and something clicked in my head, and it became apparent that the time for preliminary research is done (or, well, will be done after a couple more days of reading) and the time for writing is upon me. I Have to say, it's really exciting to actually feel this "click," because the truth is that I haven't felt that since I started my job 7 years ago. Because, quite frankly, I have never written something without having some sort of external deadline (conference upcoming, deadline for an editor, whatever) and so I don't typically get the luxury of waiting for the "click" and feeling ready to write.

Anyway, today I revised my outline, and I've realized that my project can go one of two ways: it can be this wildly successful rethinking of gender and women's social roles and representation and stuff - or it might be lame. Whatever the case, my plan is ambitious but it doesn't feel undoable. It just feels... well, it feels new.

One of the things that I struggle with (and this was actually something I hinted that I would write about in my last post) is that I ultimately do believe that there is something special about literature and I have little-to-no interest in doing the work of a historian by analyzing pop culture of the time or advertisements or whatever. I'm a snob. And I'm a bad poststructuralist. But that's been something that's been interesting to me about the process of reading and research over the past weeks, too - not only do I not want to write that sort of a book, but also I find that I really kind of loathe reading that sort of a book. Not that I think it's a bad thing to do interdisciplinary research - my research is that, actually - but I really hate literary criticism that seems like it doesn't actually care about literature. Does this happen in other fields? Are there people who are biologists who seem totally uninterested in biology? Because I seriously don't know why this happens to so many otherwise smart people in my field.

Interestingly enough, Jane Gallop made an argument not unlike the position I describe in the previous paragraph at an MLA a few years ago, in which she talked about the lost art of close reading. I remember at the time thinking that in my world close reading is still very much a part of what students do in the classroom and that I really didn't understand why she thought nobody did it anymore. But in doing all of the reading I've been doing... I think I see what she means. And the fact of the matter is that since I've been reading outside of my discipline, I feel very comfortable in saying this: Historians write history, sociologists write sociology, geographers write geography better than Literary Critics do. And so no, I have no interest in writing the sort of book where literature takes a back seat to culture more generally. Let people in other fields do that work, thank you very much.

That said, I do realize that my vision for this book is so much broader and deeper than my vision for the first book, and I think that is exciting and terrifying... and also probably a good thing. I have a lot to say about how I think teaching and blogging both have influenced that - because I really do think that both have - but not in this post. I'll save that for another day.

Also, I've been reading with interest the conversations about Terry Castle's memoir over at Historiann's and Tenured Radical's and Comrade Physioprof's... but I'm going to just come out and announce that I won't be reading it because I'm not allowed to read things for fun since I'm trying to write a freaking book that requires me to read about a gajillion things. (As I'm seeing the thing take shape, I realize that I'm going to need to read or reread about 15-20 novels over the next 6 months or so, plus reading theory and criticism on the side, so lest you encourage me to read for fun, I will preempt you to say that reading stops being fun when you're reading as much as I'm reading, which is why graduate school in English is often for many people a soul-killing endeavor that makes them despise literature, but I digress.) But I did want to say something about the following in CPP's review:

"The last part of the book is a rumination on how this romantic/sexual liaison influenced both the development of her personality and her scholarly perspective. The latter I found very interesting: as scientists, we pretend that our personal lives do not influence our scientific tastes and perspectives, while Castle sees it as a truism that her escapades with the Professor would influence her scholarly pursuits."

I think that is a distinction between the sciences generally and people in literary studies (I was going to write "the humanities" but I don't know that other humanities disciplines do take things so personally as we do in English), and I think it's also probably why I don't like to write about my research in a concrete way on blog - it feels very personal to me, and I feel very exposed when I talk in non-work contexts about my work. In a very real way, my cv does tell a whole hell of a lot about who I am and what I was going through at different points. So I can see why somebody outside of my field might find that connection between life and work intriguing, but for me... Yeah, think about it people: why am I so interested in looking at housewives just at the moment when I bought my first home? (I've got more examples than that, but I feel like if I write them here that most of them are way inappropriate and more information about me than you want.) I realize that not everybody's research connects up to their lives in such an obvious and transparent (and, some might say, pedestrian) way, but I know a lot of people for whom that is very much the case. And I also think it's interesting that it's much more likely, in the blogs I read, to see that the people who most frequently will talk about books they're reading tend not to be the English proffie types. I mean, just look at the above conversation: two historians and a scientist. (I know that there are more "professional" style blogs by English types out there, and those do talk about the books, but I find them really stuffy and miserable to read as a general rule.)

So anyway, with that, I must go and return to my reading. While it is true that I won't be reading Castle's memoir, I will be taking a gander at The Apparitional Lesbian. Because as much as I whine about not having time to read anything fun, really, every single thing (with the exception of Habermas) that I'm reading for this project is fun. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing it.