Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Double Space Everything and Move On"

The title to this post is a good friend's response to a crisis I was having last night. To wit:

Last night, about two weeks before deadline, I composed an e-mail on problems/questions I was having about final MS preparation, and sent it off to editor's assistant.

Auto reply: Assistant no longer works for the press. Please contact editor directly.

Okay. No problem. Editor is, of course, Fabulous Editor, and has always been helpful. I forwarded the message.

Auto-reply: Editor is out of the office until August 10 (that's four days before my deadline).


And my friend suggests: Double-space everything and move on, which I think is actually good advice, and boils down to: "Control the things you can, and don't worry about the things you can't."

And then....

FabEd e-mails FROM HIS VACATION IN EUROPE to answer my questions, because he knows that I'm in a rough position here. And the answer to most of my fiddly questions is basically, "Sounds good. And if there's a problem, we can totally fix it in later stages."

I love FabEd, and suggest that everyone work with him.

Off to Jury Duty!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Still revising

... though I am somewhat relieved to note that it is still July.

Things proceed apace. Yesterday I even got most of my desk cleaned off.**

Here's a picture I took of someone else doing some tidying -- much more visually charming than my own activities:

**25% filed, 25% thrown out or recycled, 50% thrown into a pile in my inbox that will have to be sorted through before the semester begins. But at least I have a visible flat surface.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Hook

fig. 1: an obscure corner of a certain goose-infested locale frequented by bloggers such as tenthmedieval.

Over the past couple of days, I've been working on skimming hundreds of pages of material (most of which I'd already read previously, thank goodness!) in order to write approximately 300 words.** And today, I think I found my hook. You know, that organizing principle that lets you string together a bunch of disparate books and articles around a single theme that happens to relate to what you're talking about. I think I have it.

Actually, it's not that simple. To be more precise, I've found two or three hooks. So tomorrow I finish skimming, and start the process of trying to weave these two or three threads together. Threads. Hooks. Whatever. I think I can do this. I just wish I weren't so goddamned rushed.

**Different from the section I was bitching about a couple of posts down. I'm sure they'll both turn out all right, though.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First, Do No Harm

... and yet, I seem to find myself in the process of actively making my book MS worse. I'm hoping it's like cleaning the house,** in that sometimes you have to pull out everything and make a huge mess before you can truly get it clean. I hope.

In the meantime, here's another totally unrelated photograph from my recent trip to Exotic Research City:

**Yes, that item is still on my "three things" list, now for three days running. Sue me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just asking for trouble

Okay, here's my first gripe about one of my Helpful Readers: he or she wants me to insert a brief general history of Research Region for nonspecialist readers.

I forsee problems:

1. I need to cover this briefly, so that I'm not losing my reader in minutiae, or reinventing the wheel. I'm thinking 1,000 words, tops. But this is a lot to cover in such a short space. Research Region has, like any region, a long and complicated history, one that spans at least five centuries before you get to my book, and one that has complicated links with three neighboring regions.

2. Because of the above complications, I will inevitably overgeneralize, leave out things that some people think are important, and probably irritate specialists.

3. I'm so irked by the enterprise (mainly because others have done this more completely and coherently than I have) that the whole thing is clunky and stupid.

4. I'm fearing a critique along the lines of "What is this clunky, stupid, out-of-place passage doing in this book anyway?" To which I can only answer: "That's an excellent question."

Hm. Again, I'm stuck. So here's a picture of something red (always a good bet, photographically speaking):

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What's left of my summer (UPDATED: now with a totally irrelevant photo!)

In the past 7 weeks, I've spent 9 days in my own city, but I'm back now. And what's staring me in the face is a serious deadline: By August 14, I need to have finished my revisions, edits, etc., on the book MS, and hopefully have the map and cover illustration all squared away. Oh, and also figure out what to do with my upper-division seminar this fall. And in one week, I'm slated for jury duty. So, blog posts are likely to be brief, but that "three things" list in the sidebar may grow.

Mneyh, whatevs. Not much I can do about it. So let's just look at this totally unrelated picture and shine it on:

Hope you like it, because I may be doing a lot of photoblogging in the next couple of weeks, in lieu of actual content.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vacation... of sorts

Well, folks, like it or not, I'm going on vacation. Kinda. I'm headed off to Puddletown in an hour to visit family & friends for a week. I love being in Puddletown, and I have fun meetings planned with friends and relations, but with only five weeks to go on my revisions, I wish I would have thought this out a bit more, and planned my trip for later, so that I could relax a bit. But I'll do what I can.

Some of you of a certain age may remember an old "You know you're a grad student when..." list that made the rounds on e-mail (back in the days of Pine -- remember Pine?), and one of the clues went: "...when guilt is an inherent feature of relaxation." I guess that just never really goes away.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It will all balance out in the end

...but today, in addition to reading two articles for my revisions,** I cut 1,700 words on topic A ("too dissertationy!" cries Helpful Reader 1) from a rather long and sometimes too-detailed chapter one.

The "balancing out" will come later in the month, when I add approximately 500-750 words each on topics B & C to that same chapter, also at HR1's request. But I feel like there was at least some progress made today.

**I find it vaguely interesting how much easier it is for me to remain at my café table reading for a longer stretch of time than usual when said table is being shared by a friendly and not unattractive young gentleman who pauses in his own work now and then to converse in a friendly and not uninterested manner.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Apply Butt to Chair

Notorious has a deadline.

In less than two months, I'm supposed to have my revisions finished. Problem is, when I agreed to -- nay, proposed! -- that deadline, I neglected to take into account a late finals week, a one-month research trip (in which I got no work at all on the old project done), a one-week visit to parents, and a four-day trip to Fellowship City for a friend's wedding.

As the kids say: OMG.

And as my dissertation advisor, my friend Chimpy, and others** have said: time to Apply Butt to Chair.

**"Others" including Clio Bluestocking, who apparently even sells t-shirts with this exhortation writ upon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Home Again

Last night, I slept in my own bed. For almost 8 hours straight. Woke up once, utterly disoriented in the dark, knowing I was in my own apartment, but not being able to remember how it was laid out. But other than that, all was well. Left unpacking until today. I'll be posting more soon, but in the meantime, here's a picture** from my trip (with more to follow):

Ooh! Bicycle! I should ride my bicycle today!

**I seem run into trouble whenever I photograph walls, getting a fisheye effect. Trusty point-and-shoot says I'm at the right distance, and I'm in focus, but still, problems.