Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too much to do

The summer already seems over to me, in the sense of that dead, fallow period of the academic's year.  Suddenly — okay, maybe it wasn't out of the blue, but I'm still reeling — I have all these practical matters to deal with that overlay, and largely overwhelm, my professional goals for the summer.  Let me see if I can get my mind around this, and use this blog post as a kind of open-ended to-do list.
  1. I have to start packing up my apartment to put most of my possessions into long-term storage.  I've done this before, when I went to Research City for my doctoral research time, but the goal in mind is different now.  Now that I've graduated, I have to plan ahead for the probability that I will be semi-nomadic for some years, and that the only thing that could keep me in DOU-Town at this point is totally lack of employment and inertia born of despair
    Therefore, it is time to retire my furniture, which is all either cheap stuff that I bought for grad school, or a few nicer pieces that have soldiered on with me for a long time, but are now aging and breaking down in little ways.  Of the nicer pieces, there is my 600-CD rack, which I have since re-rigged to mostly hold books.  (I had a lot more CDs, and far fewer books, before I went to DOU.)  There is also my beloved desk chair, which is comfy and inspires a sense of power and agency when I sit at it.  I picked out that chair with more care than any other piece of furniture that I have owned, knowing that I would spend a lot more time sitting at my computer working (or possibly goofing off) than sitting on the couch or sleeping in the bed.  Everything else among the furniture, I could throw out tomorrow and not miss at all — except, you know, when I try to sleep on the floor. 
    This realization is attractive: if all I'm really storing long-term is a few clothes, my books and the CDs that I bother to keep in the age of iTunes and humongous external hard drives, I can rent a pretty small and cheap storage unit!  But it's also scary: getting rid of the furniture commits me to buying new stuff wherever I land next, and I don't yet know where that is, or if I'll even draw a salary large enough to buy more than the essentials of life.  It makes my mind wander into intimidating territory.
  2. I'm still waiting impatiently to make contact with Dr. Awesome, who appears to have been on vacation for three solid weeks while my article draft sits unread in the departmental mailbox.  Sigh.  It'd really be nice if I could at least get some face-to-face feedback before I leave DOU-Town, since Awesome and I will be forced to communicate electronically for years after that.  And, as we all know, even great advisors and mentors are sometimes hard to reach when you can't just stalk them in the corridor.  But this isn't the only bit of writing I need to give some thought to, because....
  3. ...I should really try to draft a reasonable book proposal, because I'm expecting an exploratory call from a university press some time next week.  Frankly, all I've got so far is my dissertation, which only a madman would attempt to publish as-is.  I don't even know how to think about it as a book manuscript yet, since I haven't yet made up my mind about what should be there and isn't.  Could be one new chapter, could be two.  (Or more?? Heavens!)  I feel like I shouldn't plan to add more than that, because that would probably require too much more research than I could complete in the research time at my disposal at present.  But I'm hopeful that the editor will understand the situation, given that they originally expressed interest in my work before the dissertation was even complete.  I hear that at least some university press editors know how to help writers knock disses around and turn them into worthwhile manuscripts, sometimes even at the planning stage.  We'll see; my head kind of swims when I contemplate this matter. 
    So much so, in fact, that I'm highly amused that Edith Piaf is singing La foule on my iTunes right now as I write this.
  4. But ALL of this writing business is only my second order of professional development this particular weekend, since I'm gearing up for my interview for TAJ on Monday!  Aaaaack!  Can someone explain to me how to sound smart and hire-able?  I've been submerged in the depths of wonkiness for so long that my interview skills may have atrophied.  Adding to the fun is that the interview will be conducted via Skype, so I'll have to get all dressed up — what is this strange device you call a 'necktie'? — so I can sit at my computer for a few hours and wait for the call to come in.  Remind me not to overdose on coffee that morning, lest I have to run to the bathroom just when they decide to call me.
  5. Theory reading.  Whatever.
  6. Laundry.  Whatever.
  7. Being here now.  Whatever.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! Kick ass! Remember not to have the whatever piles of theory and laundry showing in the background of the call!