Thursday, June 08, 2017

Second verse, same as the first

This morning I awakened from a dream about my book. Not the one I'm writing; the one I already wrote.

I was meeting with the editor of an academic press. It's unclear what I'd been led to believe the meeting was about, but I was surprised to learn that this particular press now owned the rights to my book--so they'd commissioned an external reviewer to report on its merits. And the reviewer didn't like my book AT ALL.

The editor told me that, under the circumstances, the press couldn't keep me on, so they'd be putting this particular "property" (her words) out for bids.

I was annoyed, but also anxious, telling the editor that I was sure it would land okay--after all, it'd been published with a good press to begin with! And it had gotten mostly nice reviews!--but she just smiled briefly, looked at her watch, and returned to her computer. After a few moments I got up and left.


And dudes, I'm kinda embarrassed for my subconscious. My book came out three years ago; I've got a whole new set of anxieties. Time to stop going back to the fucking well.

Monday, June 05, 2017

In residence

Hello from Planet Residential Fellowship! Among the things I'd forgotten since my last one is that time itself operates differently here.

Leaving behind the endless minutiae of my regular life means I gain approximately ten extra hours a day. And yet, any time spent at the library goes incredibly quickly; it's lunch time, then it's tea-time, then it's closing time--and I haven't opened my web browser once.

It's a magical, binary space where only work and relaxation exist, where I can work more, and with greater focus--and go out more. If I wanted to, I could make plans three nights a week and take the weekends off. Partly it's that researching doesn't tire me the way teaching does; I can go from six or eight intense hours in the library to schmoozing at a big social event. Partly it's having no other obligations competing for my time and energy. And partly it's just the sleep-away camp vibe, especially here, in a library where everyone is in some sense a colleague and a city where something like 10% of our friends from previous life stages seem to live.

I know it won't last forever. Sooner or later I'll have to stop gulping down everything I read--taking detailed notes about the what--and begin to process and synthesize, putting these ephemeral sixteenth and seventeenth-century works in the service of an argument about LITRAHCHAH.

But for now, it's like having previously unidentified superpowers.