Saturday, June 26, 2010


No, not this kind. Just my usual summertime brain-funky ways, exacerbated by the fact that I'm spending most of this summer in Deep South Town, which is the laziest place in the universe. (I think it would be a good idea to finish the book manuscript, or at least send off an article or two, so I can look productive and won't have to do this again next summer. But I'm not very good at translating that thought into action.)

I don't do well without structure and deadlines. I know this. I figure I'll do stuff later, and then when it is later, I think of something else that I need to do first. The only reason I finished my dissertation, I sometimes think, is because I managed to trick myself into writing it as a series of conference papers, which come with built-in deadlines. (Also, I had a summer tutoring job which involved sitting in the student lounge night after night, waiting for students to show up, and I did have a laptop but didn't have wireless access. This is a tricky and difficult-to-replicate set of circumstances.)

And now I'm trying to turn the thing into a book that someone might actually want to read, and it feels like this endless process of unweaving something that was perfectly serviceable to begin with, and turning it into a tangled mess. Like being Penelope, only without the higher purpose. (Because honestly, I'm not convinced that anyone really wants to read scholarly books of any description, let alone this one. Frankly, the whole scholarship machine strikes me as about as useful as running on a hamster wheel and rather less fulfilling, and if someone offered me twice the committee work in exchange for no publication expectations ever, I would take that deal in a heartbeat. There, I've said it. I know we're all supposed to love our research and be excited about having time for it, but I don't. I'm in this profession because I like most of my students and believe I'm teaching them something worthwhile, and because I believe that my poor, underfunded, embattled university is doing meaningful work in a community that desperately needs it, and I want to do what I can to support that mission.)

But in the meantime, I probably do need to publish something, and I probably need to make some progress on that front this summer. Only it's not absolutely necessary that I do so today. Or tomorrow. Or on any given day, really. So it's ridiculously easy to turn into a complete slug who can't even maintain a blog properly. (You'll notice the near-complete silence since April's Shakespeare blogging. Somehow I could do that while teaching four classes with four different preps, but take away that structure, and it all goes to hell.)

On the plus side, I have very nearly finished unpacking the boxes from when I moved here two years ago! Woo hoo!


Sisyphus said...

Mmm, slothy goodness.

Clearly you'll just have to trick yourself into articles/revisions via conference papers or people demanding to see something by X day.

I need to be getting on that too, but clearly there are many apartment and furniture web sites to drool over instead!

Lucky Jane said...

Blerg. Sing it, sister.

There's that cliché about how, if you want something to get done, as a busy person. The busy-person rhythm can be exhilarating and motivational, but hell, after eight+ solid months of teaching, it's important to decompress.

Besides, sloths are cute.

Lucky Jane said...

"*ask* a busy person"

With those funky toes, sloths aren't the most accurate typists, either.