Friday, January 29, 2010

Well, that settles that, then.

Found out yesterday that I did not receive that fellowship I applied for some months ago, which would have extended my one-term leave this fall to a full academic year. I will here forgo the threnodizing my career, and the desolate lamenting about how it's really the only fellowship that I would ever able to apply for because of my family circumstances (I'm not leaving my kids for 9 months to be in residence somewhere else researching and writing), and the bitching about how much I hate the way this profession breeds in us self-contempt and insecurity and encourages us to train up new generations of scholars in self-contempt and insecurity. Instead, I will simply celebrate that not getting that fellowship made turning down my esteemed colleague's invitation much, much easier. How liberating to say No, and to know with absolute clarity that it was the responsible answer and not a cop-out. Back to the mantra: NOTHING BUT THE BOOK.

(After the term ends, that is.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hell's bells.

As I may have mentioned, I have finished clearing my calendar, sweeping the desk clear, wiping the slate clean, swabbing the decks, and I am preparing myself to focus on NOTHING BUT THE BOOK from the moment this term ends until I go back to teaching after my leave.

But. I got this email tonight from an acquaintance of mine, a truly lovely person and also an eminent scholar in my field, who has been asked by a prestigious UP to put together a collection of essays on Shakespeare. He's asked me if I'd like to write on either "The Rape of Lucrece" or "Venus and Adonis" for the volume.

On one hand: Obviously, VERY FLATTERED.

On the other hand: NOTHING BUT THE BOOK--that's the mantra! And I really don't need anything to further stretch my already threadbare schedule as I commit myself to finishing, finally, this project.

But on the first hand: Don't want to turn down such a gesture from someone so respected by me and others, or, more crassly, to turn down an opportunity to have a good publication.

But on the other hand: I'm not actually a Shakespearean. Have never so much as presented a conference paper on him (though I wrote a short paper on Henry 4 in grad school--but that hardly counts, as it had, I believe, not a single reference to a critic).

But on the first hand again: I AM pretty solid about poetry and how it works, and perhaps I could get away with not being a Shakespeare pro by being a poetics pro.

But on the other hand, really loudly: Of all the works of Shakespeare, I outright DETEST three pieces. One of them is R&J. The other two are Lucrece and V&A.

Shit. I do not enjoy saying no, I do not enjoy not being a reliable go-to girl, I do not enjoy turning down a chance for well-placed publication with what will surely be illustrious company in a high-profile volume. But I wonder if it will take everything I've got to produce this paper to my satisfaction, and suck up my leave.

Anyone out with some distance from my drama have dispassionate thoughts on the matter?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

They still speak Latin there, right?

So I'm doing the RSA thing in Venice. And after RSA, I and Thing 1 are going to make our way casually down to Rome, exploring as we go. Couple nights in Ravenna at the start of the journey, couple nights in Rome at the end. But I've never been to Italy before, and I don't know a) if it's going to be easy to public-transportation my way through the joint with a 9-year-old in tow, esp with no functional knowledge of Italian, or b) what we ought to see between Ravenna and Rome. Do we linger in the hills around Perugia? Do we spend long days museuming in Florence? Do we trek south of Rome to see Pompei? Thing 1 is interested in each of these things, and can't make up his mind. I don't know what's vital and what's lame touristy. You jet-setting sophisticates out there, how do we best fill up a week between Ravenna and a flight out of Rome?

(And any inexpensive lodging tips will also be appreciated.)

(Also, obviously, food tips.)

HELP! April approaches, cruelly as ever.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Act V

Hey, all you Ren folks: Have you heard this?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

39 and feeling fine.

No baby pictures digitized, to my knowledge, but let it never be said that I don't know from socks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let us now praise winter veggies.

Two nights ago: Creamy celeriac soup, and romanesco sauteed with browned butter and parmesan.
Last night: Pasta with rapini, garlic, pine nuts, olives, and raisins.
Today: Chioggia beet and mandarin salad, and chickory soup.
Tomorrow: Rutabaga gnocchi in wild mushroom broth.

I love my CSA.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New semester begins today?!

If I could find a decent stock photo of a deer in the headlights out there, I'd paste it here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

RG's third annual year-end yard sale: An essay in numbers

2: number of happy Things in my life, to my endless astonishment, relief, and gratitude

1: number of doting, understanding, forgiving, challenging, funny, knee-knockingly sexy husbands I have

3: number of dogs I've married into

1991: miles away from me said husband/ dogs live

2: number of wheels on which both Things can now bike

2: number of adenoids currently possessed by Thing 2

0: number of adenoids Thing 2 will have 3 weeks from now

5: scholarly papers delivered in 2009

7: poetry readings in other states

2, 3, and 4: ranks of three of the hotels in which I've been put up this year during those travels, in order of poshest of my life

1: books published in 2009

1: articles published in 2009

350: lines of translation from Homer published in 2009

16: poems published in 2009

4: poems reprinted in 2009

10: technically, number of pages I've written on my scholarly monograph this year, but

35: number, actually, of pages toward the monograph, since talks I've delivered feed directly into the project, and

2: number of times I've written up good solid abstract/ annotated table of contents of the thing, which has been an incredibly useful exercise and has helped me to conceive of the project in global terms, to identify the most persuasive throughlines, and to discover the necessary work for the introductory chapter

2: chapters left to write

1: semester of confirmed leave in my future, with fingers crossed for fellowship support for two

99.8: percent completed in my endless Upload All the CDs to iTunes project

6: camping trips this year

2: deaths of people close to me

1: times I became an aunt in 2009

98: percent of days I feel generally sunny about the universe, despite the catharto-therapeutic gloom of this blog, in which I too often exorcise (and exercise) my frustrations

39: my age next week, which appeals to the math geek in me. 39 years I've been alive, though I feel the same as I did when I was 18. This year seems to be starting off with renewed self-confidence and equanimity. I feel square, in the good, stable way, in addition to numerically. Happy, happy, all!

MLA wrap

Honestly, didn't do much or see many folks. I had intended to finish my paper on the plane, and when I realized, after an unusually breezy progress through security, that I'd left my laptop at home, I lost the 4-5 hours of worktime I'd budgeted to collect my thoughts and my shit. Happily, a colleague in Philadelphia lent me his laptop, and after interviewing candidates Tuesday morning and meeting with a publisher Tuesday early afternoon, I really just worked on the paper in my hotel room until just before my panel, breaking only to go running and to eat dinner (see last post). Saw a few lovely peeps in quick passing, and got a chance to chug-a-lug some tea with one friend, and ran for the airport right after my panel. All in all, a whirlwind MLA. Three great side-benefits: 1) wrote (frantically) a paper with which I'm pretty happy, and which makes me much more confident and energized about the book project; 2) have a possible new project in development with a colleague based on some post-panel conversation (on hold, obviously, until the Book That Ate RG is done); 3) in the brain ecstasy that is last-minute paper-writing, finished a poem I've been working on for three years.