I've been having a rather erratic afternoon and evening -- computer work punctuated by reading a memoir and tv-watching, most recently The Birdcage, with the fabulous Robin Williams. I'm very fond of that man. He's probably not lacking for women willing to have his baby, huh? Gosh, it'd be interesting, having a kid that funny... Anyway, it's been a much-needed antidote to the book I'm reading, The Refuge, a story that switches between the narrator watching a bird refuge being drowned as the Great Salt Lake rises, and the same narrator watching her mother dying of cancer. Oof. Also a little hard to take for all the Mormon elements; I mean, they're interesting, but I have to admit that I find some aspects of the culture a little...creepy, I guess. Young women having many babies, for example. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations. I sometimes start to understand where Spock was really coming from. It's sometimes more of a prayer than a philosophy; a reminder to the self, and a hope for some help in enduring the bewildering otherness of...well, of others.
I'm not making so much sense, am I? That's okay -- I'm pretty sure I made sense yesterday, and possibly the day before.
This morning was interesting; I went to a workshop on academic publishing. Mostly not relevant to me -- the focus was on publishing your dissertation as a book (which you ideally do in the humanities before you come up for tenure review, at the start of your seventh-year in a tenure-track position). My dissertation will be a creative work, this set of linked short stories, probably, and I'm certainly not planning on waiting six years after doctorate to publish the darned thing. Not sure I'm going to wait until doctorate. Heck, in my long-range plans, I have the rough draft finished by the end of this summer. Are you laughing at me? I can hear you laughing...
What *was* interesting about the workshop was a) hearing what the university press world was like, and b) realizing that the essay I wrote last week, the mix of Sri Lankan history and personal memoir, could in theory be expanded into a slim book, possibly the book I work on after the short stories. That wasn't the plan. Are books supposed to just appear out of nowhere and bop you on the head like this? It's a little dizzying.
M'ris, you have more experience with books than I do -- is this how your books started? My first one, that was sort of accidental. And the one I'm working on now...well, it crept up on me, a gradual accretion of short stories that all seemed to be talking to each other when I wasn't looking. I can live with that -- I'm not sure I can handle the shock of a short essay suddenly blossoming into a book.
Well, it's just an idea. I'm not sure anyone would read it. I don't know that I have enough memoir to balance all the history that would end up in it. I'm not sure it'd be a worthwhile book. And maybe I need to be a lot older to write it properly, and need to spend a lot more time in Sri Lanka. Though I could theoretically address that last objection by just going there. Anyway, it's a thought. If I hadn't dragged myself out of bed early to be virtuous and go to this workshop, I might not have had it. Instant karma, huh?