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  • Read scholarly book #1
  • Read scholarly book #2
  • Catch up on professional journals
  • Administer evaluations
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  • Order books for fall
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  • Attend INRU Commencement!

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Vanitas vanitatum

So I have to decide whether I want to submit an abstract for this upcoming conference. Deadline next Friday.

On the one hand, the abstract really shouldn't take long to write, but it could well eat up a day's worth of productive work time, and I'm not sure I have a day to waste. Other problems are these: I'm giving a big-ass address drawn from the same material this fall (BAA will be, I don't know, 45 minutes to an hour long), and since I haven't yet written that, I'm going to have a hard time knowing what I will and will not wind up covering. Also, the conference in question is likely to be quite small. It's also in a foreign country. And I'll have to pay my way.

All of which sounds pretty negative, huh?

The really big positive is this: the conference is on an author in whom I'm really and deeply invested, and the scholarship on whom has been pretty bad (he's the same dude I mentioned in an earlier post, in re: a mediocre new work of scholarship I'd just read)--and this conference, which the organizers are hoping will become annual, may signal a revival of interest in his work, and I'd really like to get in on the ground floor if so.

There are a few other positives, or at any rate not-negatives: airfare shouldn't really be that expensive to this particular city at that time of year; I have a very good friend who lives in that city & who I'd love to have an excuse to see (esp. since I'm missing her wedding in September!) . . . and, of course, vanity.

The vanity here is several-fold. First, the organizer of the conference emailed me a personal note asking me to submit an abstract. I should say that I've never met this dude, he knows nothing about my work, and he only mistakenly thinks I'm someone because I'm giving this address in the fall (which gig I wound up getting through a similarly random series of circumstances). He probably also assumed I was faculty at INRU, not the punk-ass grad student I actually am.

So, I'm totally flattered, even if his invitation is based on nothing meaningful. But I'm also flattered by the idea of making some kind of a name for myself (albeit in a TINY circle) rather quickly. Given that I hope to make said author a major focus of my career and am mulling over some future projects on him, it would be fantastic to meet whoever else is out there doing interesting work . . . and who might be looking for future conference panelists, or co-editors for a critical edition of his works, or whatever.

I don't know. Maybe I should just see how the chapter looks after the weekend? Right now I'm feeling that it's frustratingly without shape, and hugely repetitive, and though I think there are good ideas in there, they're JUST NOT MAKING THEMSELVES KNOWN.

God, I hate writing.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 9:10 PM |


Blogger What Now? commented at 10:35 AM~  

Hard to know what to do, so I have no advice on the conference issue. But I will say that, if I had my career to do over, I think I would make it more author-based than thematic-based. That is, rather than writing the kind of work I do (such-and-such phenomenon in a whole bunch of authors' works), I would focus on a few authors and become famous in small circles, instead of famous in no circles at all!

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