This post serves mostly to catch up on what’s been going on and hold some space before I get back to writing more regularly. I haven’t blogged much this semester, which bums me out. As I noted before, I was sick a lot this semester. It’s been hard to focus, but I’m looking forward to hitting the books hard again soon. Teaching also took a lot of my time, as did my dissertation prospectus. After the semester winds down next week, I think I’ll be able to get back to a more regular routine in my writing both for my dissertation and Ph.D.s and Pigtails. I regularly post articles and other things to the Ph.D.s and Pigtails Facebook Page, if you’d like to follow.
The big news for me is that I have the fourth year dissertation fellowship in my department for next year. That means that I’m getting paid next year just to write my dissertation. I got the news when I was at a spa getting my nails done for my friend’s wedding a couple of weekends ago and the added gift was that I got to stop compulsively checking my email and enjoy my manicure and bridesmaid time in pure bliss. It’s a big honor and a big responsibility and I’m just so excited.
In a way, the fellowship means that I could choose to write my dissertation anywhere, but I’m choosing to stay put in my apartment, close to the library and my committee. I think I’ll be more productive in my nest. It is going to be liberating, though, having the time to go where I want to write, make a research trip to Chicago, and just focus on my work. That. Is. Just. Amazing. I’m so, so grateful.
In just under a month, Veronica Mars and Philosophy: Investigating the Mysteries of Life (Which is a Bitch Until You Die) hits the bookshelves (or e-readers). My friend and writing buddy Megan and I have a chapter in it called “‘Grow a Sense of Humor, You Crazy Bitch’: Veronica Mars as a Feminist Icon.” We are really excited about it. If you know us, we’d love to talk to you about all the points we cut from our first, massive draft because, well, we weren’t hired to write the whole book.
I also found out recently that an article I’ve been working on for a couple of years has been accepted for publication in a journal. More details on that when everything is finalized. I’m still working on the final copyedits and I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m superstitious and a bit of a perfectionist. Great combination. Anyway, I’m really excited about that too, as well as a little nervous.
I am writing one. Like with my exam, I have a tab above where I will stash notes, book reviews, etc. I also have a Dissertation Pinterest Board which is a weird combination of inspiration, things related to my dissertation chapters, and productivity hacks. Are you writing a dissertation? How’s it going? What are your strategies for writing, stress management, etc.?
Bring Back Our Girls
As you’ve hopefully heard by now, there’s an ongoing international crisis over the abduction of over two hundred school girls in Nigeria. Media coverage has been galvanized by the slogan “Bring Back Our Girls” which was started by the families of the girls and activists in Nigeria and snowballed from there. It’s an incredibly important story and will hopefully further shed light on the ways that girls are abducted and sold every day. I’m praying for change as well as for the safe return of the girls to their families and that when they are returned the world continues to support them through any emotional and physical recovery.
Currently, I’m also working on a dissertation chapter that deals in part with human rights spectacles and a politics of pity or compassion. It’s gotten me thinking a lot about the rhetoric around #bringbackourgirls and the ways that the hashtag has been both really positive for solidarity, but also has valences that are sort of reminiscent of colonial discourses and other problems. I’m still pondering, but planning to write more soon. I’m not trying to diminish at all the importance of the case and the media attention and outpouring of care for the girls, but I also think it’s important to think about the implications of how things are done.
My Writing Partner
For much of this semester, Megan and I have had a writing group, exchanging drafts and offering each other feedback. It has been a great way to keep focused and motivated, as well as to get feedback regularly. I highly recommend it, especially as working on dissertations or articles can be a high-pressure, isolating experience. Yay, Megan!
The other day, I was joking with my class and I casually mentioned “my partner” helping me with something because he’s good at math. One of my students did a Liz Lemon-sized eye roll and mouthed “my partner” with air quotes. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I call Julio my partner because I am a grown ass woman and we are committed to each other (edit: committed to each other enough to keep up a healthy bi-coastal relationship between two neurotic workaholics) and I, personally, cringe when I say boyfriend. I mostly keep my personal life out of the classroom, so that I was me-me instead of teacher-me and had that happen made me feel more vulnerable than it should have. At any rate, teachers, have you had something like that happen to you before? It was very weird to me.
Finally, my dog obeyed the “leave it” command when offered a spoonful of peanut butter. She is a zen master of self-control. Ha.