My Beautiful Wickedness

Other things
September 9, 2008, 9:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A list of stuff that’s going on here that may serve as blog fodder later if I have time to write it up:

Cat aggravation. Our cat is unhappy with the home renovation and is taking every opportunity to adjust her guts on the dance studio floor. She is on her way to being an ex-pet if we can’t figure out a way to reconcile her to the changes we’re making.

I’m still selling these Disney raffle tix. You know how there are people who could sell a furnace to the Devil? I’m not one of them.

Met my nutritionist (Kendra) today briefly and we have our first real sit-down on Thursday. I have a history of eating disorders and since I’m stepping back on board the Intentional Weight Loss Express, I like to have some external person to whom I can be accountable about, you know, not just quitting eating for the next three months. Despite the whole “fat people lack self-control” mantra that I hear constantly in the media, it’s not saying no to myself that is the problem. I have an on-off switch — that’s the problem. The whole moderation thing is something that is nearly impossible. I either am eating for pleasure without reflection or I am not eating. Anyhow, Kendra’s great and she is willing to double as a free personal trainer (I am so in love with my Y that you just don’t know), as long as I’m serious about the commitment. I’ve worked well with her before, so I’m looking forward to this.

I’m on day three of my exercise program. If it does turn out that I have diabetes, I’m going to have to exercise a lot more than I do now to help manage it. This is my down payment. Kendra wants me to develop some quantifiable objectives for my fitness before we meet, which we agree is a more desirable way to approach a long-term life change. You might hear more about this or maybe not. I’m less fit than my 76-year-old mother, though, and so that’s got to change.

The book. Ah, yes. That thing that I need to get working on just as soon as I…ahem. Clearly I’m avoiding working on it, though I am happy happy happy doing my own thing, fixing up the house, cooking nice meals, making little surprises for Kid, and so forth. It has been a good project, a really well-received project that even two years later people are still asking about (seems like a good sign), a project with more than average scholarly potential, and it’s not a mess as it is. So, the questions that have to be asked: in the world where I now can choose how to invest my scholarly time, will it make me happy to put the work into pushing this ahead into a book? If I want to do this, how much time am I willing to put into it to get it into sending out shape? What’s the returns, in terms of personal satisfaction and professional reward? Realistically, I could cut to the chase and move on to a new project now, consigning this to a really good experience through which I learned a lot and got tenure and so forth. Not a waste of effort at all, really. On the other hand, are there stories that have to be told and people out there that need to hear what I have to say? Something to think about while I’m working out, I guess.


4 Comments so far
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Wait a second! Is this the project I saw? Good lord, woman? Have you read a scholarly book lately? Because yours–what you sent me years ago–is a whole lot better than most of the crap out there.

Stop revising right this second. Stop thinking about revising. Start thinking about which 10 publishers you’re going to send your query letter to and work on those.

Revise along the lines of what the reviewers tell you to do when the reviewers tell you to do it.

This talk of just setting it aside, like it was some quaint thing you did once but isn’t good enough to be a book is so far outside the realm of true I’m about to have to build a fainting couch just to faint on it.

Comment by Aunt B.

Yeah, same mss you read. I don’t like to blame the adults in my life for making me the kid I am, but my dissertation chair (I know people think I’m nuts when I say she’s a lovely person, but she is…just a very difficult and demanding lovely person who changes a lot in the way she treats you once you are no longer her underling. but in many ways that’s worse, because it’s really supportive but you still feel all the weight of expectations…) has psyched me out to some extent by her serious discussion about how much revisions are necessary before a publisher will be serious. (Of course, her life circumstances are different. I don’t know that she did that for her first couple of books.) And also, she talks about getting the voice right and spinning out the arguments fully and all the things of which I know I am capable. I like to write and I can write well. Well, anywho, I’ve allowed myself to build a very high wall labeled “My Perfect Book” that now I don’t want to climb.

Can you send me/point me in the direction of a model of what a query letter looks like? I don’t have a clue about what I’m supposed to say.

Comment by bridgett

I sure can.

And I just want to say, for the record, as someone trying to keep her semi-anonymity, but who is in a position to know to all you female academics who might be lurking out there–one of the biggest mistakes we women make, speaking in generalities, is waiting until our project is perfect before looking for a publisher.

In general, men don’t do this. The finish up a draft they feel okay about and they send it out and they get some publishers interested and they get one who’s willing to send it out for review and they take the criticisms of the reviewers to heart and revise along those lines and then they have a book. It might not be the perfect book they would have written if they had all the time and space in the world, but it’ll do.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. I pry manuscripts out of male scholars’ hands because they’re waiting to hear from other publishers and not sure who to commit to. I pry manuscripts out of female scholars’ hands because they’re not sending it to anybody.

Comment by Aunt B.

So you’re saying I should just send out my ten-year-old dissertation?

Comment by nm

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