I thought about holding off on this till Friday and making it part of the week’s writing group theme post.  But I wanted to put something up just because it’s the 29th of February, which doesn’t happen very often.  And so, because I would like to think that this is also a rare event*, I will just tell you: I got turned down for the fellowship I applied for last fall.

I’m not taking it personally.  It’s a good project, on which I’ve had enthusiastic support from people who know the field.  I’ll keep working on it.  I’ve asked for feedback and I will apply again for this and other fellowships next year (the trick is that I need to be at home or close to home; can’t do year-long residential things far away).

The main disappointment is knowing that, because of teaching this summer, I’m going to have very little teaching-free time in which to write until summer 2013.  So, I’m back to juggling commitments, thinking about how to balance the needs of students against my need for writing time, trying to work out teaching schedules that make it possible for me to meet classes, attend committee meetings, commute only 3 days a week, and manage writing and the rest of my life, and all the usual jazz.  I already hate my schedule for next fall.

Never mind the hugs and sympathy.  It’s not that big a deal, and the only thing that will help the particular brand of hurt feelings I have is getting more publications (or another fellowship).  “Showing them” has always been a good motivator for me.  So I’m off to write some more.

*I know rejection is not that rare.  Nonetheless, part of my strategy for dealing with this one is to say it’s a 29-Feb kind of event.

10 thoughts on “Leap Day

  1. Huh. When the dashboad displayed this post, it also gave me this quotation: “Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.” Truman Capote.

    Thank you, Truman, and thank you, WordPress. You guys rock.

  2. haha “the only thing that will help the particular brand of hurt feelings I have is getting more publications (or another fellowship).” feeling very much like that these days. I really could use a big win right about now to fuel the rest of sabbatical

  3. If it’s the fellowship I think it is, I never seem to be able to get that one, either. And the one time I asked for the feedback, they sent me the reader’s notes, and I discovered that a) the same reviewer had turned it down twice — I know b/c s/he mentioned the previous application (so why did they send it to her the second time??) and b) another reviewer seemed not to have actually read the application or else confused mine with another, because his review and my application had nothing in common.

    The point I’m making: it’s a crapshoot. And it says nothing about the actual quality of your work. Cold comfort, perhaps, but maybe some comfort?

  4. Aw, empathy! And hugs. And permission from the universe to spend extra time with furry ones instead of human ones. You’ll show them one day!

  5. It’s hard to face a long stretch that will not have much open time for one’s own work. When I face such a stress, I get anxiety and worried, and I start to feel a bit claustrophobic, in a way. I hope you do, indeed, find ways to open up bits of time during that stretch. My two weekly hours of “mindful inflexbility” have been such great windows of time for me. I look forward to them *so* much. That said, today I forgot my dissertation work at home so I got my office organized and did some grading instead. It was nice to get organized, but I missed my library time.

  6. Oh, dear; that *is* disappointing. For whatever it’s worth — completely anecdotal evidence at best — I seem to be hearing multiple stories of people who applied for one of the major national fellowships (i.e. the ones that can actually fit into complicated lives, and pay enough that they don’t require additional support from unwilling and/or cash-strapped institutions), were turned down at least once, and finally got funded for essentially the same project at more or less the same stage of development. So there is a crap-shoot element to it all.

    And yes, publishing can only help — in improving morale, and perhaps even in strengthening the application (the other element that sometimes seems to be at work is some variation on “them as has, gets”/”support goes to those who, to all appearances, don’t really need it” — though, to be fair, they probably do).

  7. The point I’m making: it’s a crapshoot.

    When it comes to grant-writing, this is exactly correct. You don’t go to Vegas, take all your money out of the bank, and bet it all on one throw of the dice.

    Similarly, you don’t make your ability to do your research hinge on a single grant application. Dunno if this is feasible in your field/circumstance, but my strategy in biomedical sciences has been to always have multiple grant applications on different projects/lines of research flowing through the submission pipeline all the fucken time.

    1. 1. There aren’t many opportunities for grant money in the humanities in general, so very few of us are ever really dependent on it. It’s just nice if you can get a grant that buys you time away from teaching.

      2. Since I have this application to use as a base, I might as well apply for some more stuff next year . . . but most of what there is, is really big-name stuff that I have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting, and if I didn’t already have this narrative written for a more local purpose, it wouldn’t be worth the time to write the application for the big huge stuff.

      3. I know it’s a crapshoot. But this particular fellowship is relatively specialized and relatively less well-known, and a couple of people from my institution have held it recently, so I thought I had a decent chance. I want this one in particular because it’s in commuting distance of home, and I can’t do a full-year residential deal that’s farther away . . . if I could, the options would open up markedly.

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