the grid

the grid

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Week 8: Secret mighty super power identity


Rereading last week’s posts to compile this week’s list, I was delighted again by GEW’s son’s Lord of the Awesome! screen name. And since things have been particularly heavy and difficult in the world of late, I thought I would invite you to engage in some whimsy. If you had a secret mighty super power identity, what would it be? Or if there was a mighty super power hero/ine that you would call upon to be of help, who might that be? Existing superheroes, made-up ones, and Lords of the Awesome are all welcome. And, you are also welcome to pass the prompt to focus on goals and tasks instead.

From last week:

Bardiac (carry over)
1. Organize the damned British Library notes.
2. Read the piece I realized I need to read. Take good notes!
3. Go pick up a botany book for the project.
4. Taxes.
5. Violin
6. Get some exercise!
7. The usual teaching gig!

Daisy
1) Paper text
2) Extra sleep
3) More thesis chapter commenting

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; make the damned appointments.
2. Teaching: catch up on the online stuff and award points; class prep.
3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; focus on the last MMP revisions and permissions.
4. Life Stuff: collect tax docs and list deductions; oil change; routine vet appointment; re-org kitchen cabinets or paint back stairs.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Two hours x 5 on the sabbatical.
Walk 2.0 miles a day.
Four hours x 5 on the grant.
One hour x 7 on the novel.
Complete heels on first pair of socks.

Good Enough Woman
1) Call to make appointments for mammogram and a couple of ultrasounds. Bleck.
2) Walk 2x. Yoga 1x.
3) Read one SF story.
4) Morning/evening pages 3x.
5) Spend an hour on fiction writing and an hour on article writing. C/C how I feel about each.

heu mihi
1. Read two grad documents (getting down to the wire)
2. 30 minutes of writing x 5
3. Get together a very rough bibliography for Time/Space project
4. Meditate some amount
5. Revise ch. 9-11 of novel

humming42
1 Start work on presentation at the beginning of March
2 Write three more paragraphs for Jewels
3 Continue working on LRP abstract
4 3x recherche

KJHaxton
1. tackle the emails
2. finish organising the assessment activities for next week
3. go to the writing retreat and work on paper draft and application thingy
4. try to survive in the current climate of industrial action

Susan
1. Make significant progress on Keynote, getting through the next section
2. Read next diss chapter from grad student
3. Do taxes

4. Walk twice (maybe fewer goals will be more successful?)

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Week 7: Choose Your Own Adventure?

"For my part I can assure you that she had no idea which way to turn upon leaving the courtyard. Yet instead of inquiring, she took the first path she found. She rode swiftly along, uncertain of her destination, guided by chance, without servant or knightly escort. She sought far and wide in her eagerness to reach her goal, but her search was not destined to be brief."
-Chr├ętien de Troyes, "The Knight of the Cart"

I chanced upon that passage as I was reading for class last night and simultaneously (tell me I'm not the only person who does this) thinking about something completely different. In this case, I was reflecting on how I needed some guidance in picking out what aspects of my career to focus on in the coming year(s), which opportunities to pursue, etc.

My thoughts were stirred in this direction when I was tempted by a year-long teaching workshop that you can apply for here, which I've heard is very good, and which does interest me (and comes with a little stipend in the form of professional development money). But I'm also on a mess of committees, both service and graduate, and was planning to make a little extra cash teaching my first-year seminar again, and may be mired in book revisions next year for all I know, and ought to publish an article a year if I want to go up for full soon, and my fantasy life involves spending a year where my focus is really just beefing up a few languages, and and and....

And it dawned on me that I need to actually think about what I want my career to look like, which is something that I've never really done. I'm used to taking every opportunity that I can because a) I'm afraid to say no, and b) I--I just feel like I should, because doing more is better than doing less. Right?

So. This week's prompt, if you're inclined to comment, is about how/when/whether you've found yourself consciously crafting your own career, rather than being (as I have largely been) reactive. And, if you're like me, what might you do to start shaping your academic future, instead of leaving it up to the universe?

Last week:

Bardiac:
1. Organize the damned British Library notes.
2. Read the piece I realized I need to read. Take good notes!
3. Go pick up a botany book for the project.
4. Taxes.
5. Violin
6. Get some exercise!
7. The usual teaching gig!


Daisy:
1) More commenting on thesis chapters
2) Finish paper text
3) Send paper to all coauthors for comments
4) Do some planning for future lab work


Dame Eleanor Hull:
1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; make a couple of other appointments.
2. Teaching: catch up on the online stuff and award points; grade a set of papers; class prep.
3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; another round of MMP revisions.
4. Life Stuff: collect tax docs and list deductions; oil change; re-org kitchen cabinets.


Good Enough Woman:
1) Morning and evening pages 4x.
2) At least one SF short story.
3) Move like water on the Saturday theater-kids' field trip that starts at 4:30am and ends around midnight and involves a lot of driving.
4) Help son with his weird Greek god costume.
5) Walk 3x.
6) One 20-minute at-home yoga session.
7) Keep doctor's appointment.


heu mihi:
1. Write 30 minutes x 5
2. Meditate some amount
3. Revise chapters 6-8
4. Read/skim book for Silence
5. Read honors thesis section!!!
6. Read 1 grad exam document
7. Crafting: Either make some real progress on sweater for husband or buy supplies for another batch of beer.


humming42:
1 Work on pitch paragraph
2 Read reference materials for Jewels
3 Make a schedule for planned research projects
4 3x recherche


KJHaxton;
1. tackle the emails
2. do the small new semester marking task
3. prepare the teaching materials for next week
4. decide what to do for a writing retreat next week and prepare
5. work through the paper draft (assuming this isn't done as part of 4)



Sunday, 11 February 2018

Week 6: Touching the Letters


Earlier in the week, cartoonist Chris Hallbeck Tweeted:
I was doing an activity with my 5-year-old and then told him I had to go back to work and he said “Okay, go touch your letters daddy.” which is such an amazing burn. “Must be exhausting touching that keyboard all day. Did you hit all the letters yet? You’ve had all day.”

I found this amazing too, and charming. It reminds me of how we sometimes talk about “touching” our projects as a way to describe spending time in the research mode but not “actually” writing. Here at TLQ, I’ve used the word “recherche” (which is rich in meaning in French) as a way to refer to that time that is vital to the process but often neglected as valuable when we look at productivity via word count or time spent actually “touching the letters.” 

This week’s topic, if interested, is to consider the terms or metaphors used to refer to these projects of research/writing/papers/presentations we do and how the ways we refer to this work can have a positive (or negative) impact on our perceptions and our work.

Following up from last week:

Bardiac
1. Catch up on union work (I'm treasurer now).
2. Find 2 really good Hamlet articles for my senior seminar
3. Organize the calendar for the works my senior seminar folks decided to read
4. Prep the project for our student researchers meeting (Wednesday) and help run the meeting
5. Practice my new violin piece, and start incorporating vibrato practice
6. Do taxes
7. Organize British Library notes
8. Apply for grad student research help.
9. Do all the usual teaching and grading!

Daisy
1) Read student work and comment
2) Put all the cool conference discussions right into paper before forgetting them!
3) Finish paper text

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; make a couple of other appointments.
2. Teaching: catch up on the online stuff and award points; grade a set of papers; class prep.
3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; another round of MMP revisions.*
4. Life Stuff: collect tax docs and list deductions; oil change; re-org kitchen cabinets.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Two hours x 4 on the sabbatical.
Walk 2.0 miles a day.
Three hours x 4 on the grant.
One hour x 7 on the novel.
Complete heels on first pair of socks

Good Enough Woman
1) Do prep work for Poetry Out Loud judging on Friday.
2) Article search (one hour)
3) Read one theory chapter
4) One hour editing article
5) 2-3 SF short stories
6) Finish "Dawn" by Octavia Butler
7) Walk 3x.
8) Morning/Evening pages 4x
9) Pay bills and make phone call.
10) Schedule mammogram

heu mihi
1. Read 4 essays/chapters for Silence
2. Novel: Revise chapters 5-7 (100-162)
3. Finish reading diss chapter
4. Read Honors draft
5. Meditate some amount
6. Run x 3, yoga x 2
7. 30 minutes of writing x 5

humming42
1 Actually set some deadlines
2 Work on pitch paragraph
3 Submit current book review
4 Read reference materials for Jewels

JaneB
I might squeeze out about three hours this week for TLQ, and it all needs to go on those horrible PRoblemChildPaper3 revisions which I had to get another extension for. Cough cough sulk.

KJHaxton
1. finish working through the paper draft
2. finish a hat
3. tackle the emails
4. submit ethics application

Susan
1. Really finish Way Outside
2. Finish dissertation chapter
3. Write self-statement for review, do bureaucratic stuff connected to it.
4. Identify secondary and primary sources for keynote
5. Walk three times

6. Work on 7 hours of sleep.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Week 5: Expectation, Meet Reality

This week, I tried keeping track of how much time I spent working. Of course, observation changes the phenomenon, so I found myself getting up an hour early (four days out of five) to write, and was much more carefully disciplined during my working hours than usual. And yet, as of Saturday--day 6 of the week, much as I hate counting weekends--I was only up to 35.25 hours.

Now we all know that different kinds of academic labor take different amounts of energy. Lying in bed and rereading a novel that I like and have taught four times before is much easier, and can be sustained for much longer, than drafting a conference paper, and teaching a low-level gen-ed class is (usually) much less mentally exhausting than a graduate seminar.

Still, though, I had hoped that I could put in 40 hours of work. I did leave town mid-day on Friday for an overnight at my mom's (she had a gallery opening on Saturday, for her first solo show), but I was surprised by just how difficult it was--what with attending to my child, doing the laundry, meals and clean-up, etc.--to put in an 8-hour day.

So I'm thinking about the clash between expectation, or maybe hope, and reality, and what can be done to soften that crash. Getting up an hour early every day (but one) made a huge difference in how much writing I did this week, but trying to finish up my workday in the evening sometimes meant that I wasn't very attentive to my son--and that's no good. In that case, my expectation for work done needs to be reduced in order to accommodate parenting. And I need to neither beat myself up for, nor resent, that reality.

How do expectation and reality come together (or not) for you? What can you do to move closer to meeting your expected, hoped-for goals, and where would it be freeing to release expectation in favor of reality? --And how many hours a week do you work? Because man do I feel like a slacker.

Check-in time:

Daisy:
1: Polish the 2 science talks
2: Try out keynote talk on patient friends
3: Work on figures and paper text, co-authors will be at conference so they need to see some graphs over beers...


Dame Eleanor Hull:
1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; plus another dentist appointment; make a couple of other appointments.
2. Teaching: catch up on the online stuff and award points; grade a set of papers; class prep.
3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; another round of MMP revisions.*
4. Life Stuff: bills and some other financial stuff; oil change.


Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:
Two hours x 7 on the sabbatical.
Walk 2.0 miles a day.
Three hours x 4 on the grant.
Complete heels on first pair of socks.


Good Enough Woman:
1) Pay bills and make that one phone call I need to make.
2) Maybe even do taxes? 
3) Walk 3x.
4) Morning/evening pages 4x.
5) Read intro of theory book and skim the rest.
6) Read SF novella (Binti) and two SF short stories.
7) Prep for husband's b-day.
8) Schedule mammogram (heavy resistance to this one)


heu mihi:
1. Meditate some amount
2. Run x 3, yoga x 2
3. Catch up on thesis reading (1 diss chapter, 1 Honors draft)
4. 30 minutes of writing x 5
5. Chapters 2-4 of novel (pp. 25-100).
6. Write up contest books.
7. Read Silence


humming42:
1 Figure out how to regain health
2 Submit Buildings, now TRQ
3 Work on pitch paragraph more
4 Set some writing and research goals for the year


KJHaxton:
1. catch up on emails about outreach
2. plan teaching for next few weeks to free up time
3. finish the Good Wife before it is removed from Netflix on 1/2/18
4. work through one of the paper drafts created in the writing retreat
5. look at the data for another paper to find the gaps


Susan:
1. Do the last footnotes and a last read of Way Outside
2. Write formal request for permissions if I get a contact.
3. Read diss chapter from grad student
4. Clean campus desk
5. Identify secondary sources for keynote, maybe write a bit more.
6. Make marmalade, start limoncello to use up citrus
7. Walk three times
8. Get at least 6 hours of sleep.