Choosing places

I seem to be on the same wavelength as Nicole and Maggie lately.  I was thinking a few days ago about revisiting a series of posts I wrote in the first year of this blog, to see if I still stand by those ideas.  And then N&M posted on choosing where you live.

Well, here we are:

Even allowing for the job, I have choices about where to live.  I could live where the job is, or I could live partway in between, perhaps nearer some of Sir John’s family.  Where I am now, I can walk to both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  We have contemplated houses, still local, that would not really be walking distance to WF, but certainly bikable.  I think the partway-there solution would be the worst of all possible worlds, but Sir John would probably prefer it to living where my job is.

Now that the cat situation is less fraught, it might be easier to spend time in my home state during academic-calendar breaks.  I’d like to see if that would make me more contented with the midwest (I loved N&M’s remark about the vampire-like partner who needs to sleep in home soil), or if it would increase my hankering after the flora of home.

I suspect I am a person who gets restless wherever she is.  I can love a place and have roots there, and still want to be somewhere else for awhile.  And I truly crave cities.  I love their energy.  I would have taken a job anywhere, but I’m not sure I would have stayed in some of the places I interviewed.  It might have been worth it to leave the profession.  But who knows?  The only path is the one you’re on.

Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 9 check-in

Something was in the air last week, since Nicole and Maggie came up with this post:

That’s what I mean about moving forward.

But since to move forward, you have to recognize when you’re getting in your own way, this week’s topic is self-punishment.  Do you beat yourself up for not working?  Did you at one time, but stopped?  If so, how did you stop?

Amstr: 1) Ch2Article to book editor (finally!), 2) rework Ch 2–mashup article with new good chapter stuff that didn’t fit in, 3) Ch 3: 5 tasks, 4) read one book for Ch. 4.
Another Postdoc: print out article and read through closely. Mark what needs to be changed and make those changes.
Bavardess: no check-in
cly: an hour a day; figure out where I am (word count and draft wise) on my overall goal.
Comrade PhysioProf: no check-in
Contingent Cassandra: Work on J article on 2-3 days, even if for a short period of time.
Dame Eleanor Hull: schedule 2 hours research/writing time every day.
Dr. Virago: finish the draft part of that 2500-word essay, maybe start revising it, and start something on the review essay.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Write at least 632 words on article O. Touch it every day for at least half-an-hour.
emmawriting: Review document entirely done (as much as possible) by Monday. Grant proposal #2 fully revised into good-enough state on Monday and uploaded. Then extras: EOCP sent to journal. Results of Study 1 attacked with a practical eye so that I can do Study 3. If still no baby, Study 3 sent to collaborator (ask him if this is possible); otherwise have to wait until.. when? January? Feb?… Grant proposal #2 made better.
GEW: four 15-minute sessions.
highly eccentric: write on two days of the week; email Drs J and D.
historisusan: keep myself reading and thinking.
humming42: write every day.
JaneB: no check-in
JLiedl: no check-in
John Spence: (a) index 20 pages; (b) finish reviewing a possible source for my edition.
kiwi2: To finish my analysis for Paper Z. And to do my revisions on Paper X this week, to keep my collaborator in touch and interested in this paper. I have yet more marking to do this coming week, so one challenge will be to keep that under control and make time for the writing.
kiwimedievalist: Academic: revise article and resubmit. Non-academic, get the books out of the library, before my card expires!!
Kris: Write up the introduction and theoretical framework sections.
luolin88: Write or edit for half hour on Monday and Friday; take 30 minutes on Wednesday to think about conference paper coming up so I can get Interlibrary Loan requests in if necessary.
Matilda: finish the first draft.
meansomething: 1) an hour on the lyric essay; 2) 5 12-minute sessions on poems; 3) one submission.
metheist: write every day.
Notorious Ph.D.: Finish up researching and writing the Big Background, and read at least three items (1 book + two articles) for “cities” sections.
nwgirl: no check-in
Pika: get instructions for this smaller proposal from the funding agency website.
Pilgrim/Heretic: 2500 words. And a bonus celebration if I make it.
Premodern: Clear other things off my desk: 2 stacks of papers and another set of midterms, final versions of pre-tenure review materials (due the week after), a couple of grant applications. If I can get some reading in for the article, great, but otherwise this will have to be my reboot week.
rented life: work on book 3 times. Continue reading book D. Record as needed.
Salimata:  read 1 book and 2 articles I need for conference paper, write notes; plus find/organize older notes that might be useful.
Sapience: no check-in
Sisyphus: 1) finish the outlining and 2) reorganize paragraph 6. And then figuring out what is vaguely “off” about the rest of the paragraph order.
sophylou:  do some writing every day.
tracynicholrose: Finish TS edits; finish notes on P&P paper; final memo on BE analysis.
Trapped in Canadia: write the conference paper and make it brilliant so I can get a job and get out of adjunct hell.
Undine (Not of General Interest): 1500 words.
What Now?: Spend time this weekend sorting out my evidence and outline and prepping for my writing sessions during the week. Then, write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.
Widgeon: Write the comment for the conference I am also presenting at this week. Complete (or possibly abandon) the powerpoint.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): Continue using research blocks as planned.

Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 8 Check-in

I’m not feeling inspired about a topic for this week.  Bribery?  Coffee shops?  Finding a writing buddy or writing group?  If any of those appeal to you, discuss away, or make some suggestions I can use next time.  Sorry—but anyway, here’s the list.  How are you doing?

Amstr: 1) get Ch2Article back to reader, 2) Ch3: 10/29 tasks, 3) Ch2: type in changes, do 5/29 tasks, 4) Ch4: SFD of abstract.
Another Postdoc: Redo introduction and review section with the intention of clearly communicating what I want to say. Maybe begin the conclusion.
Bavardess: Finish revising article per supervisors’ feedback and figure out where I’m going to send it first; Read a couple of important theory articles for my proposal.
cly: write an hour every day.
Comrade PhysioProf: not checked in.  Probably because he drank too many cups of not fucken tea.
Contingent Cassandra: Finish current freelance piece; spend at least a brief period (1 hour if possible, as little as 15 minutes as not) on J article on at least 2 days; keep thinking/planning.
Dame Eleanor Hull:  Schedule 2 hours/day for research/writing; submit fellowship application.
Dr. Virago: pound out the rest of the draft of my 2500 word article and make some plans for the review essay.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Spend four hours on article O, and add at least 500 words.
GEW: four 15 minutes sessions again.
highly eccentric: write on two days, again.
historisusan: I want to keep reading, and maybe get myself an outline of the essay I want to write. I also want to hold on to the feeling of joy that I had when I was in a beautiful place.
humming42: still write/research every day, and turn writing into a daily habit again.
JaneB: (2 weeks’ worth) 1) write conference talk. 2) Survive conference. 3) Meet with colleague in conference-town and help them with their analysis. 4) go through few-author paper and make extensive list of what needs doing 5) draft case for support for small grant. 6) make appointment with chiropractor about neck.
JLiedl: Polish and deliver the keynote.
John Spence: excused absence
kiwi2: finish my analysis for Paper Z. I will also be talking to my collaborator on Paper X on Wednesday, so a secondary goal will be to work on rewriting that paper again to get it closer to submission.
kiwimedievalist: Get books out of the library. Write a character sheet for the priest.
Kris:  read two papers and figure out structure and argument of paper.
luolin88: 1/2 hour Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Matilda: revise outline, mainly re-constructing my argument/ finishing writing a really rough first draft.
meansomething:  1) an hour on lyric essay; 2) 4 12-min sessions on poem sequence; 3) one submission.
metheist: write every day and stop caring so much about what happens, or does not happen, in the classroom.
Notorious Ph.D.: Finish researching and writing the Big Background.
nwgirl:  Finish revisions on this chapter.
Pika: proofread, finalise, upload and submit the proposal (deadline is at the end of the week). And then celebrate.
Pilgrim/Heretic: 2,162 words, and getting my groove back.
Premodern: no check-in
rented life: Write/expand/edit 3 times on book specifically. Reading book D. Record as needed.
Salimata:  keep working on very-first-article, 30 mins on (ideally) every day Mon-Fri.
Sapience: next batch of job apps. I may be late checking in as I will be out of town over the weekend.
Sisyphus: touch my chapter revisions every day this week.
sophylou: let myself do some writing every day.
tracynicholrose: Rewrite findings for LM paper; continue notes on P&P paper; work on TS paper edits.
Trapped in Canadia: get ILL books to write conference paper and write three pages of said conference paper, hopefully by writing for an hour each day.
Undine (Not of General Interest): 1500 words on major project. Finish last 1/2 of reviewing project.
What Now?: Write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.
Widgeon:  Finish cutting down conference paper and compiling power point. Begin processing primary source material. Two full days of research plus 30 minutes on three additional days.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): 2 blocks before Sunday night.

Re-booting the semester

I said I’d do this for yesterday.  I should have known better.  If if didn’t happen over the weekend, it wasn’t going to happen on a Monday.

Nonetheless, the re-boot did begin yesterday.  I did yoga, though I did not exercise (slept too late and had to cut something); I did two hours of research-related activities (counting going to the Post Office with my fellowship application, and thanks to having a meeting cancelled).  What’s more, my classes were fun, and I met with a grad student, and in the evening I bought some beads that I decided were a reward/ celebration.  I was in a fabric-and-craft store to buy scissors for something else entirely, but the sale on beads caught my eye and I decided certain strands were exactly what I need to go with these semi-precious chips my mother gave me years ago.  Now all I need is a few hours to play around with them all.  Actually, that seems like an ideal reward: instant gratification plus the anticipation of a future pleasurable activity.

So, goals for the re-boot: yoga and exercise every day, preferably in the morning so I’ll be sleepy at an early bedtime; two hours of research five days a week; at least two hours of teaching activities (grading, planning) on non-teaching days; get papers back within ten days; reserve two hours a week for reading service-related documents.

Obviously there will be more work than this, but the point is to have reserved time for certain activities so that those tasks don’t gang up and mug me, and so that I can say, “No, I don’t have to do this right now, it can wait for the next scheduled slot for this kind of thing.”  If it’s clear that there’s more work than scheduled time, that’s why it’s good not to have the whole week scheduled—I can find some more slots for grading or reading service stuff.  At the same time, if it’s a slow week in one category, I don’t have to feel like I “should” be doing something in that category.  I have “open” slots to work with.

I find that it’s a great stress-reliever to say “There is a time for that, and it will get done then.”  It also makes me feel calm and happy when I think that I will do 80 hours of research before the end of the semester.

And I’m trying to work with the rhythms of the week.  Thursdays, as I keep saying, are not so good for work because Wednesdays are such long, late days.  So my two hours of research on Thursdays will be reading, because I can do that on the couch and it will feel relaxing.  I’ve picked the medieval text that will be the default reading for the rest of the term.  If something else comes up at the beginning of the week, like an article that I want to read, then that’s fine; but if there’s nothing else definitely calling for attention, then it will be a particular EETS edition.  Limiting the number of decisions to be made, especially on Thursdays but really in general, is also a stress-reliever and efficiency-improver.

And finally, though I have long insisted on the joys of a flexible schedule, for the moment I am trying to work (more or less) nine to five.  Why?  Because I am perverse.  Administrators lately have been sending out e-mail very late at night, and on weekends, and that just makes me want to get things done in normal business hours and ignore anything that comes in at a non-standard time until it is a standard time.

So those are my ideas about re-booting for the second half of the semester.  Anyone else trying to get a fresh start?

Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 7 Check-in

This week’s topic: celebrating accomplishments, which was something of a theme in last week’s comments.  Congratulations to Dr Sapience!  I hope you’ll do/have done something other than apply for jobs, the better to enjoy your new status.

Celebrating can be tricky.  Sometimes the timing just isn’t right, as when I got the MMP’s companion piece accepted in a bad week for cat health.  Sometimes you may feel like you really don’t deserve a celebration, or people around you may not understand why you want to celebrate.  You might just not want to behave like a snowflake who gets a medal for showing up.

All the same, if you do something that makes your writing special and enjoyable, won’t you be more likely to do it?  If you write in coffee shops, is it really just to hide out, or is the coffee (and maybe a cookie or a scone) part of the draw?  I say celebrate even small things, like having written your words for the day, or meeting your goal for the week, and then have a real blow-out for the big achievements.  Why be a Puritan?  Go on then, have a bit of fun, treat yourself.

And a related post, if you need something else to read.

Amstr: 1) (optional) do a readthrough of edited article (if I get it), 2) work on Ch. 3 (type changes, fix fns, reverse outline, do 4 or 5 tasks from list), 3) tidy up Ch. 2 draft and send to writing partner, 4) prep for writing retreat (starts Fri).
Another Postdoc: Redo introduction and review section with the intention of clearly communicating what I want to say. Maybe begin the conclusion.
Bavardess: Article: footnotes for pages 7 – 12 and incorporate a couple of additional sources (new pubs that are relevant to my argument); revise per supervisor’s feedback (mostly minor suggestions to improve flow and signposting.  Read and take notes on the two books I have on interloan so I can return them
cly: write (not read, revise or research, but write) for 45 minutes each day.
Comrade PhysioProf: checked in.
Contingent Cassandra: Finish handouts and do presentation; begin work on another freelance piece; take advantage of the break in routine provided by the conference to think about goals for the second half of the semester.
Dame Eleanor Hull: keep trying on the two hours/day goal. Final edits and mail the proposal.
Dr. Virago: checked in.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Spend seven hours filling holes in article O, in whatever configuration works.
emmawriting: EOCP sent to collaborator. LOI fully rough drafted (deadline after weekend). MC5 fully prepped and sent to collaborator. Review letter 2nd section drafted if necessary. Results of Study 1 (Short Paper) written BADLY.
GEW: 15 minutes per day, this time just four days for one hour.
highly eccentric: writing on at least two days of the week.
historisusan: read 3-4 more articles. I’ve also been trying to get back into exercise, and I think that may give me a disciplined structure that will enable more reading and working on this project.
humming42: write every day.
JaneB: 1) face that wretched few-author paper. 2) outline the paper for the conference and do some data analysis if possible and 3) send emails about the grant.
JLiedl: finish the keynote.
John Spence: Over the next two weeks, index 30 pages.
kiwi2: At least 2 hours on the analysis for Paper Z.
kiwimedievalist: no check-in
Kris: read and note two articles for the paper and some sense of the structure and argument.
luolin88: 1/2 hour Monday and Friday.
Matilda: finish reading materials/ revise outline of the presentation/ start writing the draft
meansomething:  1) 60 minutes on the lyric essay over multiple sessions over the course of the week. 2) Five 12-minute sessions on the poems.
metheist: checked in.
Notorious Ph.D.: 90 minutes of work a day, split between reading and taking notes-and-musings on the readings.
nwgirl: Tackle the EH section.
Pika: this weekend finish the CV sketch, then I am taking some time out, as I am travelling all week next week. The week after: proofread, re-edit, finalise and submit (deadline is at the end of that week).
Pilgrim/Heretic:  at least 2,162 words, and glow maintenance.
Premodern: 5 more pages, for a total of 10 pages. I have another essay I’m trying to finish and polish, so that’s the main goal for this week.
rented life: Write/edit/expand: three times this week. Continue reading book D. Any additional research/writing is bonus.  Practice audio-recording instead of writing at times.
Salimata: no check-in.
Sapience: First round of job applications.
Sisyphus: appeared in order to congratulate Sapience; no goals posted.
sophylou: get some notes typed up, finish skimming last two books for evidence of consumption, read/note one item.
tracynicholrose: Rewrite discussion for LM paper; rewrite intro on P&P paper; start drafting BE findings.
Trapped in Canadia: no check-in.
Undine (Not of General Interest): write minor presentation; finish 2 reviewing projects. Finish conference paper.  And write something, even if it’s only research notes, on the major project every day.
What Now?: Write at least three days (ideally before school), and aim for another 1,000 words.
Widgeon:  Two full days of research (taking notes, compiling ideas). And two additional days of a short block of research, at least 30 minutes.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): two blocks of 1-1/2 hours each, each week, more if available, put computer files of this project in organized place, keep touching work, keep *good* control of all else.

The Tiny Cat


For in her morning orisons she loved the sun and the sun loved her.
For she was of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For she had the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness she suppressed.

(Adapted from Christopher Smart, “My Cat Jeffrey”)


Sept-Dec 2012 Writing Group, Week 6 Check-In

For a topic this week, I’m cribbing from Dr Isis: “A friend just gave me a new framework for ways of comparing things: normative, ipsative and aspirational. So think about reaching a goal, say training for a marathon.  Normative – how do I compare to others around me with whom I train: are they getting better faster than me? Ipsative – how do I compare to where I was: am I running at a consistently faster pace than a month ago? Aspirational – how do I compare to where I want to be – can I run 20 miles without puking?”

Does one of those methods work better for you than the others?  Or do you use different ones depending on what stage of a project you’re at, or what sort of task you’re doing?

Amstr: 1) finish Ch. 2 draft (hand off to reader on Tues), 2) finish 2 books on hand, 3) clean off desk and photocopy lots, 4) type changes, fix footnotes, and reverse outline Ch. 3.
Another Postdoc: 2500 words on the intro and lit review.
Bavardess: 2500 words on the intro and lit review.
cly: get back to my project.
Comrade PhysioProf: I really am gonna write the Specific Aims page on Monday. I SWEAR!!!
Contingent Cassandra: Do DH application (by 10/1 deadline); do a freelance piece due Friday; figure out exactly what I need to do for P project presentation and finish handouts in time for copying .
Dame Eleanor Hull: get closer to two hours/day of research; send a draft of the revised proposal to recommenders and to someone else who offered to read it. See if I can move forward with the MMP and translation project, as well.
Dr. Virago: Do some serious writing and thinking about my two writing projects. 1) 250 words on the invited article and 2) some background reading for the review essay.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Next two weeks goals: (I will not be able to check in next weekend, as I will not have internet until I get home late Sunday night) Take good notes and figure out the further questions that can be answered when I am back home.
emmawriting:  LOI collaborators identified, summary drafted. Review letter outlined, referees identified. Results of Study 1 (Short Paper) written. One new study started. Another new study prepared. RAs reviewed. Email delayed.
Erinys:  30 minutes/day for 5 days. 1 research trip to the library.
GEW: 15 minutes per day, six day of the week, for a total of 1.5 hours. In addition, I’d like to do a bit of extra reading or database searchers.
highly eccentric: Write Things on both Monday and Friday.
historisusan: keep reading.
humming42: Excused absence.
JaneB: 1) review the status and make a work-plan for the few-author paper (goal b), with permission to have the plan start in November if necessary! 2) sort out travel plans for the paper I’m giving in October, 3) chip away at the analyses for that paper October, 4) make decision about focus for the big grant application.
JLiedl: 2000 words on the keynote.
jmmcswee: no check-in.
John Spence: Index 20 pages.
kiwi2: 1.Final rewrite of Paper X before sending to a senior co-author this week.  2.Work for at least 2 hours on the analysis for Paper Z. Including emailing for help if I need to.
kiwimedievalist: work on reading for my book.
Kris: just read one chapter out of the book I have sitting on my desk, unopened.
luolin88: 1/2 hour Monday and Friday.
Matilda: finish reading the first part of the material/ finish reading the starting-point book/ write 15 minutes a day.
meansomething: 1) Aside from obtaining a necessary source just discovered, let the lyric essay have a rest week while I focus my prose energies on a residency application. 2) Four 12-minute sessions on the poem sequence.
metheist: 1000 words.
Notorious Ph.D.: 90 minutes of work a day, split between reading and taking notes-and-musings on the readings.
nwgirl: 1 hour/TD and 4-5 hours/NTD finishing the revisions to the AB/J section, finishing the library book that came in, and deciding what remains to be done to chapter 1.
Pika: have to finish this over the weekend, to have the rest of the week for polishing and finishing part 1.
Pilgrim/Heretic: MORE GLOW.
Premodern: 45 minutes of writing every day (again), with more substantive chunks on non-teaching days. By the end of this week, I hope to have some sort of 10-page draft.
rented life: Write twice, (or contine with part I was expanding), keep reading books T & D.
Salimata: 20 to 30 minutes on the paper on Mon, Tue, Wed, and Fri; working on the argument section in Belcher, and after that, the secondary lit section.
Sapience: rewrite presentation. Pass my defense.
Sisyphus: a) make a list of small tasks that still need to be done! b) set aside at least 30 minutes every day to chip away at the small tasks! or c) actually revise my prose for that 30 minutes if I have the energy! If not, I have to at least reread the passage I am revising again, so that I don’t forget everything I am planning to do.
sophylou: get some previous writing typed up and organized.
tracynicholrose: Draft narrative for LM talk; write internal grant; finish edits on P&P paper.
Trapped in Canadia: review sources for conference paper, write a whopping 400 words for that paper, write two tests for my classes, and finish that annoying book review.
Undine (Not of General Interest): Another conference paper to finish; work on reviewing project.
What Now?: 1) finish working through the primary sources; 2) finish reading a secondary source; 3) take a stab at the first section I’m going to tackle.
Widgeon: Finish revisions of conference paper really and truly. Start going through digital images of primary sources collected in June.
Z (Mictlantecuhtli/Profacero): 6-7 research blocks, ideally of 2-3 hours each, less if necessary, point is to work daily or near daily. I will in this time: reorganize books and files to get all book materials around me, start storyboarding.