Well, here we are at the tail end of the Round. I don’t feel like I accomplished what I wanted, but I did get some journalling and outlining done.
Day job: Although I have a lot of things to do in the job, I realize that I do know a lot about the work, and feel comfortable in the management position.
New town: I am definitely comfortable in the town. My husband and I walked to a little family bakery a little over a half-mile away this morning. It was so wonderful not to be dependent on jumping into the car for everything. I am heading out this afternoon to a coffee shop a few miles away to meet Shan Jeniah, continuing a very nice trend of meeting ROWers in person.
What I learned: I had a strong and surprising reaction to a question from my academic writing group, which on the face of it was an innocent question: what is hard about writing?
My answer is that I don’t feel that what interests me is of interest to the scholarly community, which is not true. What is true is that my scholarship is in a field that is not highly prized by the discipline in which I am getting my Ph.D. I have spent far too much time to change disciplines, so I need to soldier on, but I was blindsided by how bereft and alone I feel about the situation.
Some of the difficulty is that I live several hundred miles from my dissertation advisor and committee, so that it is easy for them to forget me. I have not been as insistent as I should have been, only partly due to the constraints of my old day job. Unfortunately, it also plays into my “professional good girl” syndrome; after the love and praise I found in elementary school and college, I found myself set adrift in graduate school. I have had several professors tell me that it is not late-19th century Germany, and I have no place in 21st century scholarship. After getting well over halfway through my dissertation, I realized with horror that I really was in the wrong discipline.
The future: Although I haven’t set my goals for the next Round, I feel certain that my tackling the dissonance of the Ph.D. will be part of it. I know that I will have to bend more than I am comfortable to get the degree, and I know that I will have to work on my stubborn Irish soul about that.
I don’t yet know what place creative writing will have in the next Round, but I am determined not to give up the test mile. Buckle up, my friends, it may be a bumpy ride!
At this penultimate check-in, please make an effort to go encourage the ROWers here.