Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I am this many!

Actually, I began my bloggy life 2 years and 6 days ago! (But who's counting?) Good lord, how the time passes...

As I've mentioned before, I've been thinking a lot about what this blog is, should be, was, etc. At first, it was a way for me to create some kind of community when TD and I were isolated at my first VAP and dealing with the thought of living apart (something that didn't happen, as it turns out, until a year later). Then I started to realize how many lovely people are out there - the blogosphere is big and I've only carved out the tiniest of niches in it, but I'm happy in my niche.

I've also begun to think about the purpose of my blog. Is Medieval Woman using this forum to air deep thoughts on things medieval? Rarely, as it turns out. Is Medieval Woman a new professor airing funny (and not so funny) antics about her students (with the requisite anonymity of course) - often, as it turns out. Is Medieval Woman looking to blog about anything floating around in the ether and that happens to wander into her mind? Almost always.

Medieval Woman would now like to stop referring to herself in the third person.

Sometimes I have bouts of guilt, and slight envy, when I see the wonderful scholarly blogging that goes on (whether it's medieval or some other field). I'll tell TD that I need to be more overtly medieval on my blog. But I'm pretty happy with the blog-friendships I've made and I've realized that that's what I'm invested in. I like having blogger meet-ups whenever possible, but I also just like our happy correspondence. I like the fact that, when something goes really right or really wrong in almost all of our lives, there is an instant mobilization of good feeling, wagons circled, backs patted.

All this musing is to say that I've thought a lot about my blog...and I've decided not to change a thing. I can't promise to blog consistently all the time, but there's at least consistency in that!

So, to all of you who have come by from the very beginning (Flavia, T.E., Morgan, Hilaire, New Kid, What Now, Dr. Virago, Pilgrim/Heretic, etc.) and who have just started coming by over the intervening time (Heu Mihi, Notorious, Belle, Sisyphus, Absurdist, Squadratomagico, etc.*) - thank you for keeping me going!

Now for cake....and booze...

*I apologize if I missed anyone!!

I think I'm on to sumthin'...

Can't stop my blogging magic! 2 in 1 day!!!

I had lunch with my colleague today to discuss my book project and she was so enthusiastic about the (slightly) new direction I want to take. (Actually, I'm already well on my way in this direction...) After I asked all of you what you thought in this post, I was not sure about whether to jettison LCPY or not. I'm now certain that my book on gender and CPX is a solid, compelling project - it's also (as I've realized over the past couple of days) the book I really want to write. However, I am still going to address the implications that my project has for LCPY in a kick-booty epilogue! Best of both worlds.

This means I have a little bit more research and new writing to do - I've already identified texts that I'm going to move into to bloster my core chapters even more. I also have to peel off one of my diss chapters that I thought could be included, but it's really more about LCPY and so I will pursue this as an article (or incorporate parts into the epilogue?).

But I'm so charged and excited - everything's blooming around here (it's in the low 70s) and so is my inspiration about my book.

By the way, I call this "my book" or "my project" so much in professional circles that it's getting tedious. Therefore, for blog purposes, I've decided to call it something else: The Egg.

Six-Word Memoir

Absurdist Paradise tagged me for this a while back - and I'm always the last one to do the meme! This is me right now - it doesn't encapsulate my whole life, just my life right now. There are two options...

I think I should work out

Visualize turn signals, ya dumb jerk!

Them's the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4. Tag five more blogs with links - I tag everyone!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Um, now what?

You all might remember the lovely writing group I'm in where the writing guru helped me come up with a plan for the next year of writing. Well, it's not entirely off the tracks, but there have been some large developments in my project which might cause a small paradigm shift.

So, my dissertation was a multi-genre study of gender and Cultural Phenomenon X (but my interaction with CPX wasn't that foregrounded); in order to write the dissertation, I had to deal with Larger Cultural Phenomenon Y to justify generic choices I'd made. Okay. My book project is single-genre and I'm looking at how women's interaction with CPX says something about LCPY. I think there's a connection to be made there and LCPY is getting a lot of critical interest at the moment - and no one's really looking at how gender impacts LCPY. Cool. However, LCPY is really big. Like huge. And I've always had a hard time making the connection elegantly between CPX and LCPY.

When it was my week in the writing group, I wrote an 18-20 page intro to a chapter where I talk about gender and CPX, trying to make my intervention in CPX a little more aggressive and thorough because I'd decided that I really want to focus on CPX more in my book. And while I was writing the chapter, I was putting in little notes like: "You really need to gesture to how this relates to LCPY here..." or "How are you going to deal with LCPY? Different chapter? Two-parted chapter?", etc. I just have never been that clear on how gender and CPX would really be a way to access the big, honkin' LCPY. I know it's there theoretically, but...well, it's a little like sub-atomic particles. I know they're there even though I can't prove they're there.

When my two writing group pals read this piece, they both asked, very innocently: "Why do you even have to deal with LCPY? The cool stuff is gender and CPX." And I just blinked for a couple of seconds and realized that I was still harnessed to something that I'd had to deal with in the dissertation, but I kinda didn't need to do that anymore. This would make a cleaner, more specific book. And I could still publish my forays into CPX-->LCPY as articles.

But I'm simultaneously liberated by this and also a little disappointed. Now I feel like my project doesn't have as much of a "punch" as it did before. I.e., I'm not going as big and broad as I was. But is that okay? I mean, for a first book, that might be better, yes? I feel like I'm putting Germano's advice to work here - but I also feel a bit like I'm letting go of a life preserver.

So, now I'm a little at sea. I need to consider how I'm going to deal with my last two dissertation chapters (which I had intended to squish into one larger chapter) - but now I'm not even sure that they need to be in the book at all! And I might have to consider writing some totally new chapters.

Holy cats. I think I just had a tiny heart-attack. Tell me that all of this will be sorted out...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter to Mah Peeps


I haven't posted anything in way over a week and my apologies on that. I returned last Monday from Dutchmanlandia after an unsuccessful conference. Why unsuccessful, you say? No - it wasn't that the paper wasn't well received (because it was apparently). But it wasn't me who gave the paper.


I got food poisoning from some bad mollusks the night before and was....needless to say....incapacitated the next day. TD had to go and drop off my paper with my apologies and scrape me off the floor, transport me to the car and take me home. After finally keeping down some clear broth, I hit the hay at about 8:30 that night, convinced that the conference gremlins had jinxed my scallops. However, the chair of my session was a delightful human and read my paper, and said it was very well-received.

So, the rest of the week was spent playing catch-up. Then Medieval Pop came for a visit this weekend and now I'm getting ready to spend the afternoon reading for next week's classes. TD arrives on Thursday night for the weekend - and it's his birthday on Sunday. He's just a youth, mind you - he'll be 32.

At any rate, I've been doing some deeper musing about my blog and I'll post more soon. It's almost my 3rd Bloggiversary, so I wax philosophical at those times.

Stay tuned!

Oh, and by the way - in further ironic news:
The same day I got my "fuck you we don't want to hire you" letter from Dutchman U (why do they have to send it? I already knew that...) - I also got a teaching award from Dutchman U with a lovely letter saying: "Keep up the wonderful teaching in English at DU!"


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tales from a very snowy Spring Break

I remember the year I went to Cancun for Spring Break with all my sorority sisters back in '93 (yeah, I was in a sorority - I'm not ashamed to admit it. We had the highest GPAs on campus). Anyway, it was a fun-filled drinking binge with lots of beach time and dancin' the night away. I was responsible and did not hook up with any of the drug-addled, slimy boys who were also occupying the narrow strip of land. It was just a warm, sun-filled, fun week.

Did I say warm and sun-filled? Here's where I wake up from my reverie and look out at the drifts of snow piled up high behind Chez Dutchman. It's damn cold and narsty here. Tonight we leave to drive to my conference where it will also be cold and narsty but slightly more lively. What have I been doing with myself these past few days?

Well, I graded all the undergrad exams I brought with me, tweaked my paper a bit more and timed it (19 minutes on the nose), and wrote a recommendation for a former student. After I run a couple of errands and pack up my conference gear, I will attempt to write comments and grade a few grad student presentations (I'm shamefully behind on them) and read the sonnets I'm teaching on Tuesday.

On a happier note, TD bought me these boots to help assuage the pain of frostbite...who said my affections can't be purchased with shoes?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Quick Fashion Question - Need Immediate Feedback

Conference Wear - how do we feel?

I'll be attending a small, seemingly very chill conference. I.e., not MLA, Medieval Academy, etc. I don't want to bring my suit jacket and I also don't want to wear it. So, how about the nice sweater and slacks option? It'll be cashmere...or a shirt with a nice scarf? Or both?

I just don't want to have to bring the usual fare...


Random Bits of Fluff - Spring Break Edition

I leave for Chez Dutchman tomorrow and I have many things to do before then. Here's my life in no particular order:

1) Finished the conference paper I'm giving next weekend. Why am I not worried about this paper? Why am I so chill about it? It's not an *awesome* paper - in fact, it's the inaugural run of my "methodology" chapter of my book. I.e., I intend to stand up and say (slightly paraphrased):
"Here's how I'm re-reading (to an extent) this pertinent historical phenom. and here are 2 literary examples of what I mean. Do you buy it?"
And then they will say "yay" or "nay" I assume. But I'm not worried about it! I usually worry a lot! Perhaps I'm getting my academic sea-legs? Perhaps I have confidence in my project? Nah.....

2) I will be going from where it is warmish and sunny to the middle of the Arctic Circle.

3) I will bring exams with me to grade - so far they're disheartening. I'm not sure these kids are taking in anything I'm saying.

4) TD will be here at the end of next month for 4 months - and maybe more if he can take his sabbatical in the fall! I would love that b/c for me, the fall is the hardest time of the job market and if we are both going out, it would be great to spend the fall commiserating in person rather than on the phone.

5) I just ordered a pizza from Domino's online and they have a Pizza Tracker. My pizza is now in the "prep" stage. Weird and slightly cool.

6) I have to clean, do laundry, pack, get cat litter, pack all my conference, grading and teaching stuff (so I can plan classes during next week - what else am I going to do in the snow??).

7) My pizza is now in the "bake" stage!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On a happier note!

Dear Friend has just accepted our offer at The Dream Academy! I'm so happy and excited. This is gonna be cool! Many of my blogfriends already know her: Flavia, T.E., Heu Mihi, What Now - we all went out for Indian food with her when we met up last October!

And in other news, the department that does the same thing TD does here at The Dream Academy has said that they will be able to give TD some office space when he spends long swathes of time here - specifically this summer and hopefully the fall if he can take his sabbatical then! Isn't that nice of them? And my Dean is also going to talk to their Dean about the possibility of something happening for TD here at TDA in the next year or so. I'm not thinking that far ahead - I'm not going to get as burned as we did last time. But, it is very congenial of them - TD has been in contact with the good friend of one of his co-authors who works in the department here at TDA and so he's already making connections.

Sigh, we keep pulling at the plow - but the initial shock has worn off and the daffodils are in bloom hereabouts.

Monday, March 3, 2008

And just when we thought things were looking up...

[P.S.A. Dark post follows]
TD did not get a job at ANU. Finally, late last night, after 2 1/2 weeks of silence (and after previous weeks of having the Dept. Chair email us regularly to tell us that they'd made X number of offers and TD wasn't one of them, but we still like you so much! And we still see you as one of the likely people to get an offer! And it's not that we wouldn't love to have you as a colleague!!) we heard from the senior person in TD's field that the Chair had decided that, once another candidate in TD's field (but working on totally different things) had signed on, there was no need to hire another. Of course, this decision was made last week and the Chair didn't even have the decency to email to let TD know - he has behaved SO badly (revealing things about one of TD's recommendations that he believed was "pretty bad" and supposedly was holding up TD's getting a job offer. He did this to be "a friend," he said. Only to find out that they were deliberately reading a frank, candid, very British-y letter in the worst possible light). TD had to finally email another professor (the one who'd been so enthusiastic about TD during his visit) to hear the bad news. To this guy's credit, he and the other senior people in TD's field were supporting his candidacy up until the bitter end - they really did want to hire TD. But the Chair had already made his shitty, autocratic, asshole-y decision, so that's that. TD will probably get a form letter of rejection 2 months from now...

What next, you ask? I don't know. We both go out on the market next year to try to find jobs together. I can't imagine that this will have any better odds of working out - this year seemed so fortuitous: 3 job opportunities here for TD and one at Dutchman U for me. Something had to work out, right? I know, I know - don't say I told you so. We do feel pretty led on by ANU, though.

So, I have to plan to try to leave my beloved job, the one that took me three times on the job market to get, the department I love, the colleagues I adore, the new friends I've made, and the university that is planning on making an offer to my best friend this afternoon.

You know what's odd? I have to do so much more work to try to make myself palatable on the job market next year than I would to stay here and continue on in the tenure track. I mean, if I was planning on staying here and just being little tenure-track me, I could spend a good year working hard on my book and cranking out one more article. I've already got plenty of things out or under consideration to sustain me for the next year or two here. BUT, I feel like if I go out on the market, I have to whip my book into better shape by October, get another article out under submission, and be even better than I actually need to be to sustain a good t-t job just in order to (hopefully) get another t-t job near my husband. It's like I need to go on research steroids - God, I'm so tired of having to go on the market...

TD will continue to look at schools in this area, so it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that we could end up settling in this delightful area, with my family nearby and the rich research and social opportunities for us both. It's just looking very unlikely and I'm afraid that I will take a job that's not as good and become horribly resentful that I have to leave. Or what if I can't even get another job? What if this one is it? Do I adjunct somewhere and give up my career in order to be with TD? Does he?

Sorry folks, I'm rapidly spiraling downwards...