I’m still startled every…

I'm still startled every time I go to my home page and see the new format. You don't change something for close to a decade, it takes some time to adapt. I'm pretty sure I still like it, though I'm slightly dubious about some of the categories. And does my research statement make me sound like a total idiot? Should I take it down? Opinions of academics particularly sought on that one.

This upcoming year is all about the academic job market, I'm afraid. I had a long talk with Katie at MLA (she bought me wine, because she is a nice advisor), and we've sketched out a rough schedule that will hopefully get me actual job offers next year. Of course, whether I take any such is somewhat dependent on how Kevin and I decide to handle the two-body problem (convenient shorthand for describing trying to get two academics jobs in the same vague geographic region). But it'd be awfully nice to get the offers. Here's the tentative plan:

  • By mid-January, finish drafting stories for dissertation (2-4 left).

  • Get people to read the full draft and give me comments. Any volunteers? What I'm mostly looking for at this stage are thematic comments -- i.e., "this is interesting; this is boring; this has been done a thousand times already by Jhumpa Lahiri and you aren't adding anything new" -- I'll gratefully take as many volunteers as I can get, though I can't afford to send y'all printouts, I'm afraid. The main requirement is that you generally like to read and can talk about why you do or don't like something in a story. :-)

  • By mid-February, finish a first-pass revision on the full draft, send manuscript to Katie and Francois for comments.

  • Rest a little while they take a month or so to read it and respond.

  • In that interim time (really, all the way through), be sending out all the 20+ dissertation stories to literary markets; should ideally have at least 3-4 stories placed in bigger markets than Harpur Palate by the end of the year in order to be taken seriously as academic/literary-type writer by search committees.

  • Also send out manuscript to various book contests (AWP, Flannery O'Conner).

  • Also, find prepare a letter and research a list; simultaneously submit manuscript to multiple agents -- goal: find a good agent by June.

  • Once Katie and Francois get back to me, revise. Revise revise revise. Try to get them final draft by June.

  • Start sending final draft to publishers; order of preference: major NY house (but only if they'll do a decent job on publicity and treat it like a good literary book), university press, reputable small press like Graywolf -- goal: get book accepted for publication by end of year.

  • Learn more Spanish for language requirement, probably in the summer.

  • If approved, defend dissertation sometime in early fall.

  • Revise cover letter and c.v. and letters of rec.

  • Apply widely for jobs in October/November/December.

  • Graduate at the end of fall semester.

  • Actually have interviews at next year's MLA conference, which will be in Philadelphia.

  • Get a job offer! Have an income! Live a life of academic ease! :-)

That's the schedule. Everything else is subservient to the schedule -- projects, cooking, kisses. Well, maybe not kisses, but everything else. Remind me of this if I start talking about starting a small press or writing a paranormal romance novel or watching masses of tv or futzing around with art stuff or painting and repainting the walls of our apartment. I'm thinking of putting little signs all over the place:

  • "Writing is more fun than television!"
  • "A published story is more important than a clean house!"
  • "Video games are evil minions of the Dark Lord!"
  • "You will feel better if you go to the gym. No, really. Stop laughing!"
That kind of thing. Happy New Year, everyone!

3 thoughts on “I’m still startled every…”

  1. Hey Mary Anne, if you send me those stories you need help revising this week I can look them over before I head back to college on the 11th.

    I’ve sold a bunch of short stories and even a few poems to several magazines and anthologies (just in case you need proof that my revision suggestions will have some merit).

    Most my sales so far have been to genre magazines, and I’m currently trying to switch over to literary mags (I’ve sold some poems to literary mags, but so far I’ve only sold one literary short story to a small mag that only pays $5, so if you could help me with some revisions on mine it would be appreciated).

    Also, I have a Writers Market for mainstream markets, but it doesnt have any anthology literary guidelines. Do you know of any literary equivalents to Ralan?

  2. catching up here… *smiles* If you have your stuff in electronic format, and if you really do want as many people as you can get to read it over, I would be happy to do so.

    -N 🙂

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