Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Publishing bleg

Hey all--a quick question, hoping that your collective wisdom can give me some direction. I've almost finished polishing and ligamenting this book manuscript together, and I think I'll make my goal to mail it out the day after Labor Day. But there yet remains a glaring hole in the pages: I haven't written my conclusion. Though I frame it out tentatively in my proposal/abstract, I haven't actually produced the pages. In part, I've wanted to wait until I heard back from some reviewers, so make sure that what I'm thinking the conclusion ought to do aligns with a potential publisher's vision of what the book does and how it should wrap up. So it's not laziness on my part so much as perhaps overdeveloped circumspection.

Folks who've been through this process: should I worry? Should I attempt to bang out a fast and necessarily slapdash conclusion, or should I just acknowledge that it's still germinating?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Props. (Warning: sentimentality ahead.)

I've wanted to write this post for a while, but I didn't want anyone out there in the blogosphere to think that it was a response to any post s/he may have written. It's really not. I guess I feel like I need to say that because there's a way in which someone who's had a different life experience than mine might feel like I'm smug, or lecturing, or dismissive. I hope I'm none of those things.

What I am, and what I've been increasingly over the course of the last couple of years, is grateful for my parents, and the rest of my immediate fam.

I'm very, very lucky to have been raised in a family that genuinely enjoys all its members. My ex-husband used to say, amused, "You guys like each other pathologically." When I was growing up, I liked best to hang out with my family, and with the cousins that were attracted by my parents' gravitational pull of fun and acceptance. I didn't go through that teenage phase where my parents were stupid and I preferred my friends, nor really did my siblings. During hard and awkward adolescent years, I withdrew into the safety of that family circle. My parents' home was the house in which all the friends--mine, and my siblings'--congregated. My parents and sibs played games until the wee hours of the morning and went midnight sledding with my high school buddies and me. My parents took in at least three of my younger brother's friends when those boys' own families had invited them to leave.

I took my current job in part because I could live near my parents. When I finished my PhD, I had one child, and was planning that one more was in the future, and I wanted my kids to know their grandparents, and to feel the same sense of support and love that I had received. And when I split up with their dad, I moved into my folks' basement for 2 years. I understand that this situation would have been impossible for many people. For me it was a godsend, and a great blessing to have that grounding place to land when my world was falling down.

In this year, the year of my fortieth birthday, I've realized that for all my stress and striving and work-related anxiety, I am pretty much content, centered. Happy. An academic friend was visiting this past weekend and sent me an email afterward in which she expressed appreciation for my ability to just, you know, be happy--an ability she felt was connected to this fundamental sense of well-being and support that I've been gifted with my whole life.

And she's right. And I have felt the need to give credit where it's due for many, many months. So there it is: three cheers for all the good peeps who growed me, and whose example I aspire to meet as I raise my kids.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What's that burning smell?

Ah, yes. That's my ass on fire. Back now from Nerudaland, I find myself plummeting headlong into a new academic year. Syllabi to write. Articles with end-of-summer deadlines. And what?--a book manuscript to whip into swift shape.

The whole thing is pretty much drafted (except for the conclusion, which I feel may need to wait until I get some external perspective from a reader or two), but the chapters need polishing, ligamenting together, and in a couple of cases, several pages of expansion/ restatement of contribution to whole project.

So I'm on it. Banging away at the computer keys, to the neglect of swamp cooler repair and weed-encroached garden. I'm hoping to get this book in the mail to that editor by Labor Day.

Hope you all transition into this new year with minimal administrative stupidity.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well, that's a coincidence.

Overheard at dinner the other night, from a neighboring table filled with stereotypically obnoxious American tourists:

"Who was St. Francis of Assisi?! He was this really famous Franciscan monk."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We interrupt this vacation....

So here I am minding my own business in a little medieval hill town in Nerudaland (did I mention that Neruda concludes his exile in TWO WEEKS?!, which will mean that we can return to our regular cross-country commuter marriage after a year of our jetsetting intercontinental marriage), and I get an email from that Big Name UP editor with whom I met at MLA saying he's read my proposal and sample chapter and is very interested and wants to consider the whole manuscript. Totally unexpected, because as I have said that press tends toward more theoretical projects than the one I'm doing, big Game Changer books. So I'm surprised, and to be honest I still doubt very much that they will take the book, but it's gratifying to know that the proposal shows well. The downside is that the real world has now intruded into my food-stuffed idyll, and my brain is now half-agog at, say, cathedral art and the best gelato I've ever put in my face and half scurrying around trying to figure out how I need to get this manuscript in submittable shape in a timely fashion. So yay! and crap.