the grid

the grid

Sunday 24 June 2018

June-August Journey Week 3

Back in 2009, Flavia at Ferule and Fescue characterized her book manuscript as an upright piano:

"Nothing fancy, like a grand, but old and rather handsome—maybe something I inherited from a great-aunt? I can't get rid of it. But I don't know how to play it. And it would be pretty just to look at, I guess, and for sentimental value—except that it doesn't really fit in my apartment, and I'd have to organize a whole room around it, and if I'm going to have it, I want to be able to play it, and not just, like, put doilies on it or whatever."

Many commenters described their own manuscripts as various pieces of furniture. I thought I’d borrow this parlor game for our discussion theme in Week Three. Your furniture item need not be a book manuscript; it can be any project, work or personal, something you’re working on over the summer or for a longer period.

Please answer the prompt if it speaks to you, or just enjoy Flavia’s respondants’ replies. In either case, please report your progress on the past week’s goals; analyze what went well or badly; and set goals for the coming week. Good luck with everything!

1. Write one section of the essay.
2. Go on an 8 mile hike carrying at least 20 pounds.
3. Keep practicing!

Dame Eleanor Hull
Regular stretching and exercise; keep doing knee push-ups (50?).
Return to normal early sleep schedule.
Regular language and translation work.
Make a plan for the last set of article revisions.
Do some planning for fall classes.
Do 2 house-related things.

Elizaabeth Anne Mitchell
Pack for New Orleans.
Verify and combine if necessary the versions of the introduction that were created in my wrestling session with the work cloud application.
Print the most recent/complete version for the trip.
Begin my annual faculty report.

Good Enough Woman
1) Daily push ups (10x), walk the dog some, stretch a little
2) Start writing story for SF writing class
3) Write 500 words of mystery YA
4) Be mindful about not eating giant meals three times a day (even if other family members are). Just take small portions.

Heu mihi
1. Re-read Wonder draft (lowest priority)
2. Revise Impatience to the right length
3. Read 2 books
4. Do as much as possible re. MS situation
5. Get rid of stuff (list on Craig’s List, donate, offer to grad student)
6. Contact Amy about Denise; Denise title
7. Sit x 6

1 Finish and submit Jewel
2 Find pdfs for Overlooked lit review
3 Write review of book I read during spring break
4 Buy bookshelves

1) push as many work things into Friday as humanly possible
2) potter and putter at various small household projects, aiming for an hour a day
3) exercise a little every day
4) do something summery or creative every day
5) brain-dump ideas for summer plans onto HonkingBigSheetOfPaper which is on the living room table - don't DO anything with them, just dump them as they come up into a great ol' mess
6) eat healthily, drink plenty of water, sleep a lot.

1. Run on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
2. Marking! Finish all the marking!
3. Grant decision and 1 hour of drafting
4. Schedule workshop
5. 3 hours reading

OceanGirl101 (held over)
a. write 5,000 words for Ch 6
b. restake tomatoes in the garden and weed all over
c. have handyman repair garage door
d. walk for 2 hrs total and lift weights 3 x
e. find a new massage therapist who is good working with injuries (I have chronic back pain from an old severe injury)

1. Exercise 4x again
2. Write 1 hr-ish/day OR research
3. Make it to the U of I RBML to look over a primary source
4. Possibly take weekend off?

1. Bureaucratic (1) file two sets of expenses
2. Bureaucratic (2) finish entering data into system, draft self statement for merit review
3. Read 6 journals, enter in bibliography
4. Order course books (this is VERY late)
5. Sketch syllabus for new course
6. Start reading next book review
7. Clear junk off two empty file cabinets to list on craigslist
8. Keep walking, eat healthfully

1. Submit grant R&R
2. Finish presentation
3. Make wish list of measures

What Now?
finish the draft
clean the house

Sunday 17 June 2018

June-August Journey Week 2

Many of our cruise passengers (or gardeners, if you wish to extend that metaphor) are facing personal or professional stormy seas, whether moving house, changing institutions, or dealing with ongoing institutional change at institutions more used to moving with ponderous gravity. Others of us are seeking to define our personal or professional journeys in the midst of these rapid, often unsought, changes.

In our short summer session, there were gardeners who planted with a precise plan in mind, while others let the seeds fall where they wanted to go, and enjoyed the fruits of serendipity. In the fiction writing world, the former are often called “plotters,” and the latter “pantsers,” as in “writing by the seat of.” I’m interested in how the plotters and pantsers among us handle uncertainty, and what suggestions you may have for the group. Do you have Plans A through E all lined up one behind the other? Or do you see what happens and adjust accordingly?

Please answer the prompt if it speaks to you. For the rest, please report your progress on your weekly goals, with an analysis of what went well or badly, and set goals for the coming week.

Welcome to all new and returning travelers. I’m happy to see so many among us, and look forward to co-hosting with Dame Eleanor this session.

Shorter term goals:
Do a short project for our Women's, Gender, and Sexualities Program.
Practice the violin! I'm working on shifting, vibrato, and double stops especially, and on the second piece in the fourth Suzuki book.

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Regular stretching and exercise; return to doing knee push-ups (50?).
Regular language and translation work.
Stay flexible: be ready to show the house, or to make the most of time if people don't rush to view it.

Elizabeth Mitchell:
Register for writer's retreat.
Finish grant.
Write an average of 6 hours times 7.
Unearth dining room table.
Finish shawl.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Clean linen closet
2) Clean out freezer
3) Do SF class homework, decide what kind of piece to submit next time (revision or something new)
4) Be reasonable about which and how many books to take on the trip.
5) Do push ups, walk the dog a few times.

Heu mihi:
1) Read 2 books
2) Very rough draft of Impatience
3) Clean the damn house
4) Take some time to do whatever I want at least for a while every day
5) Sit x 6

1 Finish and submit Jewel
2 Find pdfs for Overlooked lit review
3 Write review of book I read during spring break
4 Finish other review book
5 Shop for bookshelves

1) finish all exams related paperwork that is in my control
2) do paperwork and send emails related to third summer visitor
3) have longish Skype meeting with FormerPDF (former post doc who now has a faculty job elsewhere) about Problem Child Redux (we have to redo most of last summer's work, we are grumpy but at least we should avoid some mistakes. No doubt we will make new ones).
4) prepare for a Twitter Conference ("talk" is 6 tweets with pictures delivered over 15 minutes. I am NOT a concise writer, this talk is going to be a real challenge to write!).

1. Grading! Clear big online class, and helping out class.
2. Decide which actual grant I am going to go for for acquittal grant, and set up document with criteria
3. Running on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (lunch times)
4. Schedule record-keeping indoctrination workshop
5. Read creed/stray and choose book for next week.

a. write 5,000 words for Ch 6
b. restake tomatoes in the garden and weed all over
c. have handyman repair garage door
d. walk for 2 hrs total and lift weights 3 x
e. find a new massage therapist who is good working with injuries (I have chronic back pain from an old severe injury)

Plant Girl:
1. Exercise 4x
2. Write for at least 5 minutes per day
3. Go to the library to pick up books

1. Read two journals, list in bibliography
2. Enjoy conference
3. Keep exercise going while at conference.

1. analyze data and create presentation for Montreal conference
2. try to create some manageable goals for the F32 paper and get some work on that done
3. progress report finalized
4. Marriage analyses and results writeup done
5. grant R&R

What Now?
* Finish the draft of this article so that I can put it away for a few days, clear my head, and then go back and look at it with fresh eyes.
* Plus, less stressfully, I have meetings with two separate groups of colleagues to do some planning for next year’s courses. One will be straightforward and pretty easy; the other, which I’m more excited about, involves some serious rethinking of a course, which has been a fun intellectual project (although has distracted me from the article).
* Call my mother. (Sometimes this is pleasant, and sometimes it's a chore)

* And do 30 minutes’ work each day in the yard or the house, making our physical surroundings more pleasant.

Saturday 9 June 2018

June-August Journey: Week 1

We're beginning a twelve-week session that will run to the end of August, summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere, but the middle of winter if you're on the other side of the globe. Elizabeth Anne Mitchell and I will be alternating weeks as your hosts.

Week One is traditionally the week of introducing ourselves and setting session goals. I'm picking up JaneB's packing metaphor with which we closed the short session last week. "Packing for summer" is a literal goal for me, since I've already packed up half my house to market it, and hope soon to pack up all my remaining stuff and move. Packing can also refer to packing for a trip, and many of us travel during the summer. Sometimes it's for work, whether in archives or in literal muddy (or dusty) fields; sometimes it's personal, which in turn may be fun vacation or stressful dealing-with-relatives. You may make recurring short trips, one long one, or any other variation.

So let's begin with planning the journey, metaphorically but perhaps also literally. When you introduce yourselves, answer as many of these questions as speak to you: Where are you going in the next twelve weeks? For what purpose? How will you get there? Is the trip to somewhere you've been before, or into the unknown? Is this an exploratory trip, getting to know a new place you hope to re-visit, or a wrapping-up last trip to check details? Under what name will you travel?

As well as your introduction, please post your session goals and goals for the coming week. 

I look forward to sharing the journey with you, old traveling companions and new ones. Feel free to reach out to friends you'd like to invite to join us!

Saturday 2 June 2018

Packing for summer (short session week eight)

It's the last week of our short session already.  Thank you all for engaging so enthusiastically with our metaphor-fest.  I really liked having a short transitional session - it seems to have fitted well with our varied academic calendars, and for me at least I've preferred it to having a gap.  Let us know what you think in the comments!  Maybe we should think about having a similar short session in September-time?  Or is it actually unhelpful/unwelcoming for people on non-northern-hemisphere schedules, or not standard academic schedules?

Everyone who took part this session has been making a transition, from teaching to research, from semester to sabbatical, etc.  Some of them have been swift, some slow, some ongoing and incomplete (e.g. an in process application for something exciting like a promotion, or a university with very long drawn out processes like my own, where teaching ends in early May but one is only done with the semester in July when the last of the paperwork and meetings are past).  Academic life is full of transitions, within a day and within the year, yet many of us actually don't find them easy.  We look forward to and dream of "vacation", of non-teaching-semester time, in order to be able to exercise the skills that make us academics, things like thinking deeply, comprehending complex ideas, piling up little nuggets of data and drawing out the patterns in our hordes, and pursuing knowledge wherever it is hiding - withour having to switch into committee mode or caring teacher mode or similar half a dozen times a day.  Looking over this recent period of transition, are there things you've learnt, or been reminded of, that help or hinder?  Any tips or thoughts to share about transitions, whether in the moment, from semester to vacation, or from role to role?

Please check in with both last week's goals and against the session goals.  What's the state of your garden?  Are you ready for a productive summer with tomatoes to harvest and peaches and papers plumping up nicely, or are you going for a wildflower, wild-life friendly, let it all grow whilst I drink lemonade and test out this hammock kind of summer?  All kinds of gardens are good! (And I'm really sorry not to have gotten into last week's conversations, watching the metaphor flourish and ramble is always a joy - but work nonsense got in the way).

Last week's goals:
    1) Finish almost overdue review
    2) Do something with fun new paper
    3) Finish service thing once and for all
    4) Recover

Dame Eleanor Hull
    Regular cardio, stretching, weights, pushups (60?).
    Review c. 12 pages of revision notes, schedule meeting.
    One day of campus stuff.
    More packing, tidying, etc.
    Buy and plant some annuals and creeping thyme. (For real, not a metaphor!)
    Meet with real estate agent.

    a) sort out my summer plans, at least roughly
    b) make steady progress on marking things, but remember that external emergencies are not of my making, and I can't make other people do anything...
    c) do test analyses for CrispyPaper (not sure what it's name was, but I got involved in it because of Crunchy paper and its relatives...)
    d) reaquaint myself with Gallimaufrey paper
    e) do something other than mess with phone each evening - at least one evening, do something OTHER than reading

Good Enough Woman
    1) Family: Facilitate daughter's trip to waterpark (whether I go or ask husband to go), help son order stuff he needs
    2) Writing: Write 500 words on novel, complete weekly assignment, read feedback on story, decide whether next submission will be a revision or a new story
    3) Exercise: Walk 2x, Swim 1x, 10 pushups daily
    4) House/etc: Do at least two things from list

heu mihi
    1. Article review
    2. Laura abstract
    3. Submit book review
    4. 20 minutes/day of contemplative activity (after travel is over)
    5. Inbox 0???

    1 Meet microdeadlines
    2 Submit book review
    3 Make progress on Jewels
    4 Read 5 bookmarked news stories/articles a day
    5 Do daily mindmap

    1. Do the final polish of Witch
    2. Do a "further readings" for Way Outside
    3. Get rid of 100 more emails (I did 130 this week).
    4. Order textbooks
    5. Keep going in garden -- weeding, deadheading, cutting back roses, raking ash leaves, etc.
    6. Keep walking
    7. See friends



1) Finish lingering zombie paper that festered all through the winter semester
2) Finish new co-authored fun paper
3) Finish major service task for national organization

Dame Eleanor Hull
Complete all teaching/service work for the spring semester while taking care of my health;
complete and turn in application for promotion to full professor;
get the house on the market.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Session mantra: Research, write, enjoy.
Finalize plans for the sabbatical.
Refine the schedule with as much omniscience as is given to mortals.
Splice exercise into desk work.
Outline the research questions and lacunae for the most efficient use of library access.
Have fun scoping out the next couple of projects.

Good Enough Woman

1) Celebrate the kids without letting their birthdays overwhelm EVERYTHING.
2) Submit "Spy" article by May 1st.
3) Write 5,000 words of the novel.
4) Write one short story.
5) Exercise twice a week.
6) Prep for summer trip.

heu mihi

1) Complete Silence essay.
2) Re-enter Wonder essay; maybe finish draft?
3) Plan Impatience mini-essay--to-do list at a minimum.
4) Plan the summer.
5) Put self-care back at the center: Resume all regular exercise and have a serious talk with myself about where I see meditation fitting into my life.


1 correct manuscript page proofs and write index
2 submit Jewel article
3 read Monsters book
4 write Monsters abstract
5 write and submit Decoding
6 finish and submit film review


High level: to refind my rhythm after a cacaphonic few months, and get TLQ things back into my schedule on a regular, calm basis
Specific things I'd like to do academically:

1) submit GrantINeverSHouldHAveStarted
2) have a clear plan for the summer, including HOLIDAY TIME (and family visiting time - they are NOT the same thing!)
3) have a realistic work plan in place for this summer's work on BusyProject and FavouriteIslandsProject
4) Have plans in place and Society paperwork done for SocietyThing's first meeting (which I am hosting...)
5) have a clear idea of what my priorities are for the summer
And personally (in support of research!):

6) be sleeping better and at more consistent times
7) book in some sessions with the decluttering service - get over myself, I can't do it alone and if it wasn't an embarrassing tip, I wouldn't need their help, right?
8) do something hand-crafty every week, even if it's just half an hour in a meeting.


1. I have one overdue book review and 2 that are due.
2. Short Witch essay, due May 1 (which is looming, and I'll miss that deadline, but not by much)
3. Finish Violent words piece. (for collection of essays, due later in the summer, but it needs a week of work max to polish it up, update references)
4. Do all the admin stuff for next years merit review. (Long self-statement, making sure all my activities are logged in the right place)
5. Start reading for short book Polemic, that I want to write half of this summer.
6 Keep up with walking. I've become an addict with my fitbit, and have kept to the 10,000 steps a day. I'm feeling better, and my resting heart rate is dropping.
7. Sleep: get to bed earlier, read, etc.
8. Friends: do nice things for myself, for others