Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back from mental vacation

Like the title says.  I spent a week blissfully checked out from most of my higher mental faculties after graduation.  I read a book just for pleasure.  I noodled around on the internet.  I slept in. 

But the lotus eater life is not for me in the long term.  I took delivery of my copy of From Dissertation to Book, on Dr. Crazy's recommendation, and I'm now working through it, stifling my groans of fear when I read at the café.  If I have a summer of unemployment punctuated by brief tutoring gigs to look forward to, I may as well make the most of it for writing purposes. And, thank heavens, my unemployment benefits claim was validated by the inquiry, so now I'm less afraid of starving to death.  (And hey, it's not like I'm not looking for work!)

It's bewildering to consider what my dissertation can/should become in terms of professional publications.  I've had the mentality of an academic lifer for years now, so I've always expected to start working on a book manuscript right after school.  (Because, as even I knew way back when, I'm not so on top of things that I could structure a dissertation that was actually a book in disguise.)  But do I have enough in this sucker for a book?  If not, will I be able to gather enough extra data during my postdoc to round it out?  Do I give up on the book idea for this particular body of research and frame it as journal articles instead? 

I'm in the process of nailing down a meeting for next week with Dr. Awesome -- jeez, can I just call hir Awesome now as a professional peer? -- and I'm hopeful that zi will have some useful things to say here.  All of you who are years ahead of me must know (I hope, anyway!) how difficult it is to look at one's own complete dissertation and recognize the useful from the useless in it.  Right now, I kind of feel like I wouldn't be able to see it with fresh eyes if I dropped acid.  I'm lucky that Awesome is around.

Dr. Chair, meanwhile, can go take a flying jump.  Zi saw me on the Thursday before graduation, and asked me, "So, Koshary, are you walking in the ceremony tomorrow?"  Tomorrow?  Tomorrow is Friday, right?  I reminded hir that doctoral candidates would graduate on Saturday, not Friday.  Chair furrowed hir brow and said, "Oh.  Ooooh.  Oh, I'm so sorry, I won't be there."  Twenty-five years at DOU, and Chair still doesn't know the day of the week on which doctoral candidates are hooded?  It never varies, damn it!  As is so often the case, I can't tell if Chair is totally out of it, or if zi is passive-aggressively giving me the middle finger.  But, in either case, zi didn't show up to the graduation of hir only doctoral student.  Fuck hir.

There, I said it.


  1. Yeah. My diss director didn't show up for my graduation either. I was pretty upset at the time, and felt it said so much about our relationship and how she felt about me. . . but in retrospect, I think the ceremony just didn't mean that much to her. And in the last few years, our relationship has taken on a surprisingly positive and even warm tone.

    None of this is to excuse your chair in the least. But I doubt it was a passive-aggressive fuck off. People who wind up with jobs like theirs are often emotional aliens.

    (And incidentally, I think I was at your grad U last week! Shoulda thought to drop you a line.)