Monday, January 27, 2014

Mid-sabbatical update

So, classes began today at RU, which means my sabbatical is really and truly half done. I'd been dreading itemizing my accomplishments--but in looking over what I've actually done, it seems I haven't been a complete slacker.

So, the deets:

Book One
-Acquired cover image & permissions
-Rewrote and approved jacket & catalog copy

Book Two
-Spent a week at a rare books library doing background research
-Read another Donne biography
-Read, re-read, or power-skimmed all of Donne's prose
-Wrote a short commissioned essay on Donne (related to my Donne chapter)
-Drafted an additional 20 terrible rough pages of a Donne chapter
-Significantly revised & resubmitted an article on Shakespeare (which will be the core of my Shakespeare chapter)
-Read Bede's Ecclesiastical History
-Read around in Foxe's Acts & Monuments

Other scholarship
-Read The Compleat Angler in two editions and 8-10 essays on Walton
-Wrote two conference abstracts and had them accepted
-Wrote 2.5 conference papers
-Delivered one conference paper and one invited talk
-Collaborated on an SAA seminar proposal (for 2015)
-Began the background research for my SAA paper (for 2014)
-Did a small amount of work on Browne

Other other
-Completed a semester of college Italian
-Watched a few seasons of 30 Rock and a few seasons of Community
-Read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis
-Read Harbach's Art of Fielding and half of Tartt's Goldfinch
-Mostly kept up with my magazines and reviews
-Somehow still found things to blog about

Many of those accomplishments are pretty small and interstitial--the kinds of things I could fit into an ordinary semester of teaching and service--and I know I frittered away plenty of time. But though I certainly haven't been working 40hrs/week on my research, I've easily done twice or even three times the work I manage in a regular semester, so I'm not going to be too hard on myself. My goal had been to emerge at the end of my sabbatical with three long, strong chapter drafts, and though that's looking increasingly unlikely, I do think I'll have the core of three chapters plus a lot of important background work done--enough, at least, to make me feel that Book Two is well underway, even if years and years of work remain.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Good for you! From where I'm sitting, it looks like you've gotten a lot done. I hope the rest of your sabbatical is productive as well!

Flavia said...

Thanks, Fie!

Susan said...

Well, part of a sabbatical is to rest (sabbath and all that) so this sounds good. My experience is that you tend to pick up speed over time, partly because you are rested and mentally engaged.

Historiann said...

What Susan said, plus I'm sure you're only on half-pay, right? In that case, your uni is only entitled to half-work, so by that yardstick, it looks like you've already done most of what they can expect and it's still only January.

If universities want a full year's worth of work out of us on sabbatical they can pay for it. But since none of them do any more, they get half-work.

Enjoy the remaining semester!

droyles said...

Hi Flavia! I'm a longtime reader. I'm running a writing group on my blog for the spring that's int he second of twelve weeks. So if goal-setting and low-grade accountability would help you, feel free to join us!


Flavia said...


Yes, I'm a big believer in rest and unstructured time as necessary for brain-work--the mind keeps on ticking and processing even when not actively or consciously engaged with a project (if it's not too harried by other things!)

And thanks, Historiann!


Thanks for the invite! I'm good for now--I actually have a rolling series of actual deadlines through April--but I may be looking for ways to remain accountable into the summer and will check back then.

What Now? said...

Yes to what everyone said above. Plus -- although this isn't exactly an "accomplishment" -- you've lived with your husband for half a year!