Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eh, it goes, it goes

Well I haven't really been posting a lot, but then, I haven't really been doing much. Relaxing, a bit of travel/sightseeing around the home town, a bit of plugging away at the chapter first leg of the book Defender of the Universe project.

I freakin' hate plugging away at things. Yeah, yeah, I'm making some progress. But it doesn't feel like a lot of progress --- incremental progress is hard to see as it goes along, and a dramatic makeover is always ... well, more dramatic. This is like watching a tree grow, or paint dry. Meh.

Plus, while the chapter looks better, it doesn't look magnificent. Or done. Now, a lot of it is pretty much re-written, and today and yesterday I pulled all the new criticism for the last text (yes, I cover multiple authors and genres in here, silly overambitious me) and plopped it in. Man, is that easier with some authors than others! Stupid canonical authors. Anyway, there are still some parts to revise, and the parts I have revised are ... eh. I want magnificent, not meh.

The chapter as I envisioned it:

The chapter as it stands:

See? Not bad, but not impressive. Sigh.

I have a couple weeks before I head back East from mom and dad's house, and I am pretty sure I can finish up this chapter by then. But I'm not sure about it being magnificent, and my plan was to revise all the chapters in the time it has taken me to do one. Siiiiiiigh. I've made progress, but it's not progress that really shows up on my cv or for a new year of job applications. Grumble. How depressing. I'm gonna go eat chips and salsa instead of think about it any further.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Hello, I'm making progress on my chapter. Unless I'm not. I don't seem to be moving forward, but I am certainly expending a lot of energy waving my arms over here.

Undine writes while wrestling snakes, I seem to be playing a game of whack-a-passage. Every time I rewrite, review, and unbold one messy section of my chapter, I move something to a different section and mess that up instead, and there are just as many bolded sections with notes to myself 1. as when I started.

And don't even ask about what happened when I opened up the footnotes! Not only had I not been looking at the footnotes, back when I read through that huge pile of criticism I stuffed a bunch of notes and crap down in the footnotes, as if they were seeds that would magically grow into beautiful flowers. They didn't. And I was stupid enough to look back there. I thought of using the metaphor of opening up the walls of a really old house, but no. The correct way to describe it is this:

Damn crap stuffed in the footnotes and left to rot. I thought this place was looking pretty good! That'll teach me to follow the odd smells.

I hope your summer writing projects are going more smoothly.

1. Eh, that bold sentence is crap. Go back later and make it not suck.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Arrrgh! The "Chapter" of Unnecessary "Quotations"

I am still alive. I think. The problem with staying someplace very quiet and with completely unstructured time is that there is very little to distract you when you have cramps. I haven't been working on my book manuscript Voltron, Defender of the Universe for the past couple of days since it is hard to concentrate on stupid little details like making sense argumentatively when you are pissy and crampy and annoyed.

Today is a bit better. The chapter is also a bit better --- except for the spots that I had fixed and then discovered a big pile of notes on recent scholarship I made before flying out here and that I have just now dumped back in and bolded. Le Sigh. One step forward, three steps backward, roll on the ground in misery. That's my process!

The real trouble will be looking at the final subsection, which I keep glancing at and going, why is this pointless boring shit here in the chapter again? I know it has a point, but it is not coming out clearly, and this idea is so old to me I am tired of it. Clearly I cannot deal with it while crampy and lacking sleep.

So instead I am cleaning up my prose back near the beginning and waging war against my own grad-student-ness. Seriously, what was my obsession with sarcastic scare quotes? They are everywhere, littering my chapter --- really only this first, lumpy, apprentice chapter --- with their sarcasm and explanatory shortcuts. But in a lot of cases, I don't want to simply remove the scare quotes and let the words stand --- like "good behavior" and "nobility" and "purity" --- well, maybe purity would still work there --- so I have to rewrite each damn sentence. And I keep finding more of them! Stupid scare quote compulsion! I don't "hate" you, scare quotes, I hate you! With no irony at all! I send all my extra quote marks to the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks to rot where they belong.

Grumble grumble grumble "reality" in quote marks, my ass. What was I even trying to say there? I need to get me a sharpener to fix up all those dulled, pointless words. "Words," even.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Revising Plans

You may remember that last summer I wrote an article, which I named Floyd. Actually, I had an idea near the end of spring semester, finished drafting and revised the article over the course of the summer, and dragged out the cleanup, editing and formatting over all of fall semester because I have a very heavy teaching load. And then finally had it to the point where I could send out the article in March.

Ok, you probably remember this but I am really reminding myself since I have a bad habit of misremembering how long it takes me to actually write and revise something --- not that it's not good in the end, and not that I don't work, it's just that it takes time and was never as easy or instantaneous as I remember it.

However, this year I am not revising an article but a book. I am tired of calling it The Book, the dissertation, the diss, the manuscript, or any such iteration. But do I give the whole manuscript a name? Does each chapter get its own name? Is there some sort of animal that can explain the fundamental nature of the dissertation-revision process, like Floyd the condor did, in his ungainly way, the clumsy and lumpy article-writing process?

What could I possibly use as the proper visual metaphor for the revising process for a bunch of separate-yet-linked chapter arguments? What could ---

 Oh wait.

I guess I'm working on the Green Lion.

Badassitude to commence shortly: Form Chapter One!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Portrait of a Cat (or two)

 Yes, life really is this uneventful here. Maybe I should redecorate just so that the pictures of us lazing around look a little different, eh?