Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Little writing update

I haven't been keeping up with my writing goal counter very well lately, in part because most of my writing has been a) on articles, or b) not contributing to my word count (e.g. REWRITING a chapter, which is now 1000 words SHORTER than it used to be).

However, I just tallied up my manuscript, and I've got 85,000 words.

So that's 5,000 shy of my goal for the year.

Which means that, pretty soon, and maybe even almost now, I'm going to have to direct my attention quite fully on replacing all of the wrong words (approx. 78,000) with the right ones.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Boomerang/Zombie/Indefatigably Persistent Article


I finally heard back from the 4.5-month R&R journal on Monday (the second day of our lovely beach vacation). There was no mention of what the reviewers thought of my extensive revisions. HOWEVER, there is now a THIRD reviewer, who recommends R&R with a whole DIFFERENT set of concerns!

OK, that's worse than it sounds. It is an R&R. It is promised to be the final R&R. And the concerns are primarily about clarity. To which I say, fair enough--although I haven't looked at my article since I sent it off in early April, I've been really struggling with and working through the ideas that it's developing, so lack of clarity is a real possibility.

On the bright side, Reviewer 3 appreciated my mastery of the secondary literature, much of which is in a language that I'm not very comfortable with and that I spent all of the spring semester slogging through. So that's something. In fact, I'm pretty pleased about that.

Initially, though, I wasn't pleased. I had that sinking feeling of rejection all afternoon, despaired of earning tenure, etc. Why does an R&R feel so crummy?

In this case, I'm also just out of patience with this dumb article (which isn't really dumb, I don't think, and which is the exploration piece for my second book, so I need it to be acceptable--and accepted). Here's it's history:

  • Spring/summer 2011: Article drafted.
  • August 2011: Submitted to Big Journal 1.
  • September 2011: Summarily rejected by Big Journal (BJ) 1.
  • January 2012: MLA talk given on radically revised version of argument.
  • January 2012-May 2013: Article completely ignored (by me).
  • May 2013: Acknowledgement (by me) that article is total crap, but that MLA essay had something going for it.
  • July 2013: Dramatically revised article (arguing the opposite position of its previous incarnation) sent to BJ 2.
  • January 2014: Query sent to BJ 2. Editor had misplaced submission. Editor sends it to a colleague, who reports that it isn't "sharp enough." BJ 2 rejection.
  • November 2014: Radically revised/rewritten article submitted to BJ 3.
  • February 2015: BJ 3 rejects article--accompanied, this time, by a thoughtful, detailed reader's report. Progress! But reviewer doesn't buy the argument.
  • Fall 2015: Article is now taking a totally different approach. Maybe 5% of original draft is still in there, mostly in the footnotes. Sent to writing group, who offers helpful advice.
  • December 2015: Submitted to BJ 4.
  • January 2016: First R&R from BJ 4.
  • January-April 2016: Agony, struggles, rewriting, etc. Resubmitted.

And here we are. Problems solved: The argument is no longer alienating my readers, and I have accounted for the secondary literature. All of it (or so it seems).

Soooo, tomorrow, I will print my essay and start the new revisions. I HAVE TO FINISH THIS F^%#@*$ER.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How Long?

So I'm in this really annoying limbo right now with two journals, both of whom gave me revise-and-resubmit verdicts, and both of whom have now been looking at my revisions for some time.

OK, in one case, it's been about a month. But it's been four and a half months in the other, so the second journal is suffering (in my mind) from the sins of the first--I simply can't deal with not hearing about EITHER ONE for ONE MORE DAY (something that I've been saying to myself for weeks and weeks now, of course).

Anyway. No substance, no plot, no resolution. I'm just getting impatient. (And I did contact the 4.5-month journal a few weeks ago. The editor sent my email along to another editor. And I wait.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It's Just My Ovary!

--by which I mean, not something in my ovary, but literally my ovary, which, for reasons that are not at all dangerous or pathology-related, is in a somewhat funny place (atop my somewhat funny-shaped uterus, whose funny shape is also neither dangerous nor the result of something pushing on it).

This was what the radiologist told me; I won't hear from the doctor until tomorrow, so it isn't official, but I'm pretty sure that I can sleep easily tonight.

So, well, sorry for the panic!

It's Probably Nothing

I just got back from the doctor's office for my annual exam.

I have a new doctor, of course, because I just moved here a year ago. I like her, and my impression is that she's very thorough.

So as she was feeling around on the outside of my stomach and abdomen, she thought that she felt something.

It could be food. It could be stool. It could be a cyst. And it could be worse.

Now I'm filling my bladder with water in preparation for an ultrasound. I should hear back from the doctor with the results tomorrow-ish.

It's probably nothing. I'd just eaten lunch an hour or so previously, and I've had cysts before, and I've had pap smears annually and they've always been normal.

But I'm still scared.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Okay, Full Disclosure

So I was thinking about it, and my last couple of posts have this "My Life Is Perfect" rosiness to them that even I find a little loathsome. And it's not entirely accurate. So this is intended as a partial corrective to that...

...because there are definitely days when I'm cranky and sluggish because it's hot and humid and our air conditioner is broken, or my research seems stupid and boring, or my four-year-old's incessant whining is driving me up the wall--seriously, he whines over things that are in no conceivable way problems! He'll be like, "Mamaaaaa, I want to play with my traiiiinnnn," and I'm all, "It's right there--go play with it already. And stop whining." Followed, of course, by an exasperated sigh and maybe a little grumbling. Perfection is pretty well out of the game.

But I'm trying--not for perfection, but for peace and presence. It is an aspiration, after all.

Quiet Aspirations

In yoga, we often do a pose called Aspiring Warrior. (It's also called by various other names, such as Reverse Warrior, Sun Warrior, etc.) In this posture, you stand with your legs wide apart, the toes of (say) your right foot pointing straight ahead and with your left foot turned in, your right knee bent at a 90 degree angle and your left straight. Your hips face forward--wow, okay, describing yoga poses is hard. Here's a picture:


It's a posture in which your legs are very strong--indeed, often very tired--and your upper body leans back and over with, hopefully, a surprising lightness. It's quite a lovely pose and fun to do, I think. Most of the time.

My quick image search revealed that most people call this Reverse Warrior, and that's the name that it had in most of my classes, too. My current teachers call it Aspiring Warrior, however, and I've come to like that; it shifts the focus away from the militant connotations of the Warrior and into the idea of aspiration, of yearning and seeking, that the posture entails.

A few weeks ago, as we were moving into the pose, my teacher asked, "What is your aspiration?" It was a question that she'd asked before, but it struck me differently on that day, six weeks into summer. What is my aspiration? At that moment, it hit me: It wasn't to publish more, or be more, or anything like that. It was to live my life--specifically, my life this summer. To live the summer. To be here, to feel it, experience it, enjoy it. To live more.

So I've done a few things. When I'm not too tired (and this flexibility, in itself, is quite remarkable for me), I get up early and meditate on the deck for half an hour, with the sun already high at 6 am and the birds clattering all over the forest. Then I read until the house wakes up, maybe with a cup of tea in my new birch-bark teacup from the recent craft festival.

The deck, with zafu

My cup. Isn't it pretty?

That's one thing. I'm trying some other stuff, too: spending more time on the deck at all times of day, taking naps when I can, doing fun outdoors things with my son (and sometimes even my husband!). Paying attention. Being there.

I have no illusions, really, about the likelihood of my keeping all of this up come fall. But it would be nice to borrow a few summertime habits during the semester. And maybe, simply by making them habits, I'll be able to do that.