Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The End of My Second Year of My PhD Program*

So my week has ended better than it began, but that wouldn't be hard barring alien attack from the sky.
Tuesday I had my last of one of my classes, saw grad students not doing their work in action, and had another person try to lecture me on my dissertation topic (HULK SMASH), but the professor's feedback was helpful and that will be a short revision process.
And since that's a good chunk of the culminating chapter of my dissertation, so that's good.
I spent what little time I had on Tuesday between teaching and that class, revising my #OldEnglishDevil conference paper. And I have nothing to really say about that other than it's done, and I can now spend today and tomorrow finishing the actual article revisions. I'm only on page eight of thirty (so far) and still have four additional books to read, so...
At least the revisions seem reasonable at this point, which is a lot more than I can say that I felt on Monday. 

The final draft of this paper is due by noon Monday, and the Milton paper by Tuesday night, so it'll be a busy five days of revision, but it will also just be me sitting at my desk pounding it out, so it'll be fine.
This has been a busy year, and these last couple of weeks have been rough. Trying to complete a PhD in record time is not easy. And as I've said before, doing it without a safety net and support system is harder.
I'm trying to make my life easier for next semester though.
I will not be the Core Writing Coordinator again. So I will just have to teach my two classes, and only hold office hours for that.
I'm not on any committees, I'm not volunteering for anything, if it's not the #DevilDiss or job market prep I'm not doing it.
I'm finishing my language requirement (Old English) with an independent study, which I plan on working ahead on this summer so the beginning of the semester with job materials being due, is as easy as I can make it.
I am enrolled in a pre-semester Job Seekers Workshop in August so all my job market materials will be prepped, vetted, and ready to go as soon as the job list hits in September.

I'm not getting roped into stuff.
I'm learning to walk away.
Say no.
Because there's no one looking out for me other than me.
But I first I have to finish THIS semester. I was hoping to be finished with course papers this week, so next week I could focus on adding the secondary sources to CH 2 of the dissertation, and fleshing out the methodology/introduction/how to read for my director.
But then I was told I have to hold office hours next week.
And at least Monday and Tuesday are now for revision of final papers.
And Wednesday will be spent grading final projects and posting grades.

So it'll be Thursday and Friday before my dissertation work gets done. And after all my work this semester, there's more additions to be done than I thought (but all really good stuff, so that's okay). But my director said she won't get to it until June, so that's okay too.

Originally the week after the semester ended was going to be my treat to myself for a hard semester/year- I was going to take it off, read Nora Roberts, sit in the sun, and not do anything. But now I have a meeting for a class class, and I have an article revision due, so that week will have to get pushed again. At least I know I'm not alone in pushing my personal-me time for other things.
But I will take it. Because I desperately needed. But I also hate that I'm moving the goal post on myself. 

I have a long list of summer projects-
I want to write an article on demonizing Others in turn of the century dime novels, spending some quality time at the Center for Southwest Research.
I need to expand chapter three- The Absence of Devils in Shakespeare from conference paper to actual dissertation chapter. I'm thinking too about changing the title to Dramatic Devil, but that seems to indicate that drama will only be there, and the first two survey chapters cover all genres, so we'll see.
I also need to research where the devil appears in 16th century pamphlets and write chapter four.
I need to expand the Milton article version into the dissertation chapter by adding references to the rest of the dissertation.
I also (at some point this summer) will get the notes back on my prospectus and can revise that and then make it my introduction and write my conclusion.
All that dissertation work will go to director in August, and she'll give me notes on chapters one and two, so a switch- I'll revise as she reads, then switch again.

So a busy summer. But after this semester, frankly, I'm looking forward to just staying home. Being along, playing with Nehi, and working.
I've kind of had it with people at this point, and desperately need the time by myself to recharge.
So here's to there being an end in sight, the end of another successful semester, and if nothing else, the second year of my PhD program is in the bag*.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#DevilDiss Update 28 April Meltdown

Yesterday was not a good day.
I was feeling very good about my Old English Devil seminar paper, and had met last week with the professor about my conference version of the paper and there were minor notes, which I had fixed. But yesterday I got the full draft back with notes and that was pretty much the end of my day. Don't get me wrong, they are all great notes, that will improve the work, and since this opens the first two chapters of my dissertation, this is key.
But there were several notes (about information that was in the conference draft) that I wish I'd had a week ago to start fixing. There are minor formatting notes and other small issues. But most of the notes are not minor and require a complete reworking.
Like the fact that I was using date of inscription and I needed to use date of composition. And my entire framework for analysis relies on placing these works on a timeline.
Or the fact that I needed to read R.D Fulk's A History of Old English Meter (at 400+ pages) in order to answer that.
Then there are the five books my comments told me I needed to read and cite.
And that I can use the online versions of Anglo-Saxon texts, but I need to cite and use the hardcopies.
I also need to rework my introduction because I did not explain that I was using these texts as representing folklore, popular culture, and issues of national identity. I have to explain the scholarship inserts more. And I don't explain the "how" or "why" of my evidence, so I need to do that. And explain how the narratives are reflections of fears, desires, and anxieties. And redo the order of all the evidence, as I put them in the wrong chronological order.
I also need to check footnotes.

So, a lot of work. And like I said, all things that will make it a strong foundation to open my dissertation. But the conference version is due tomorrow. I spent all yesterday just fixing the Chicago/formatting notes, reading Fulk's book, and going to the library to grab all the books I need. I still need to fix all these argument issues in the conference paper, as I always just expand that into the longer version.
I then have less than a week to fix these issues in the longer paper. But this is also the last week of class, so I have to teach, and grade, and also revise my Milton paper based on feedback.
So yesterday morning after completely melting down, and reading Fulk's book, and making a list of everything I needed from the library, I went in to the professor's office hours. I told them that I was suddenly very worried about passing their class. And they told me not to worry. That these were minor notes. I made sure I explained the major points needed for revision. The professor was nice as always. Tld me I didn't need to be worried as I was. Asked if I was okay as I was leaving, and I said I was, as I dashed out.
But I couldn't help feeling a disconnect.
The notes are not minor notes. They basically say it's a good idea but I didn't prove that. The notes indicate a complete rewrite. So I don't know what to do with the notes versus the in person. Or why these notes weren't in last week's conference. I know that today and tomorrow I need to rework the conference paper for tomorrow night's due date. That gives me Thursday afternoon and Friday to finish fixing the article length piece, and Saturday and Sunday and Monday to revise the Milton paper.

But here's the larger issue that contributed to my meltdown yesterday. Anglo-Saxon work is where my dissertation begins, but I am not an Anglo-Saxonists. I have worked very hard to learn Old English, and am using it as my language requirement. But I struggle. It takes hours, and lots of work. I've never been good at languages. And while I feel like I really know scholarship about the devil, I don't know the rest of the field. And yesterday, as I read those comments, I felt like I didn't know these things and I should have. And as I read Fulk, not understanding one word in ten (which when I told my professor they said- oh yeah, me too), I felt stupid. I felt like I didn't belong here. And I couldn't help but think as I cried in my office that no one cared.
I mostly focus my writing here on the work, and sharing professional stuff. But this is a case where the professional and the personal affect each other.
Because when you are doing this all on your own, without a support system, there is no one there to talk you off the ledge, to point out that I should wait to talk to the prof before losing my mind, and tell them honestly how I felt, and see what they say (none of which I did because I was having a hard enough time holding it together). Someone to tell me that it would be okay. Help me see the forest for the trees.
But I don't have that. My step-father continues to be weird- calling me last week on the two nights I had night classes (four calls in two days) and then leaving a nasty voicemail when I didn't call him back. Because he can't be bothered to remember my class schedule. Not to mention that he didn't talk to me for over five weeks when I told him I couldn't support him anymore and he had to pay him own bills. Not understanding that I can't talk because it's the end of the semester and I'm BUSY. Getting short with me when I tried to explain this.
I do not have friends here. I thought before Spring conference season that I had online contacts that had become friends, but I misread that. When complimenting me the other day a professor called me "precise" and "on task." I may not be great at reading social cues, but those are not great adjectives.  I may not be able to read people, but I do know when things are off, or when people are making fun of me.
So this was the mix yesterday. Add in that I was not rewarded summer school classes and am now unsure how I'll pay rent this summer. I also still have to add secondary scholarship to CH 2 of #DevilDiss and write the "how to read the diss" intro and get both those and CH 1 to my director by the end of next week. In hindsight, no surprise that I had a meltdown.

But here's the thing. I'm not the smartest person in the room. I didn't go to fancy schools. And I don't have mom and dad paying my bills. But I have a hell of a work ethic. So I've scheduled out what I need to do to get this all done this week and next. And I didn't lose it in public yesterday (although now I'm telling you all, but no one really reads this so...) So I'll get it done. And I made a rash decision last night, probably because I was still upset. I had put in to renew my position as Core Writing Coordinator. I enjoyed doing it this year, and like teacher training and professional development. But I've done a lot of work in that role this year- monthly professional development workshops, redesigned the website, designed a new website, written a teacher's resource manual, and shifted archives to Google Docs. With not a whole lot of payoff (or appreciation). It's an independent study credit in the Fall (which I don't need) and a course release in the Spring (which would be nice, but I don't feel like teaching is onerous so...) And all this work wasn't rewarded with a summer teaching position, so I withdrew my application to renew my position last night. I am still planning on going on the market in the Fall, and to be revising dissertation chapters. That means the Spring should just be defense, and hopefully job stuff. I don't need to be doing anything other than that. So the meltdown got me to focus on me and what I need to do.
So this morning is a new day, and I'm back on track. But I decided to share this not only because it did affect and reflect my work but also because often people put only their best selves forward on social media. And particularly in grad school, that's not always the case.
So if you're reading this, are a grad student, and having your own meltdown, know you're not alone.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#DevilDiss Milton Chapter Update 25 April

We're heading into the last week of classes, and then there's just finals (which I neither have nor give).
My Old English paper is finished, and I've put those pieces into the #DevilDiss. Google Docs is being weird, and not copying and pasting the footnotes, which is stupid busy work I'll have to redo. But I feel good about it. But I have a couple of dissertation issues I'm not sure what the answer is.

Now that the dissertation is really taking shape, I've added the subtopics to the Table of Contents.
This has helped me see how all the pieces fit, but also the larger through lines.

  • The Milton chapter, the culminating chapter is giving me trouble. I'm at thirty pages. And that's mostly my argument. I still have secondary sources, mostly footnotes and little bits. But, here's the problem. These are my stacks of secondary research. I've read it. I've annotated it. But there's just SO MUCH. And a lot of it doesn't have anything to do with my research and argument. So I'm drowning a bit in the scholarship and where to start.

  • I posted both a conference draft, and a full draft as is but haven't gotten any feedback, so no help there. I present on it Tuesday, so we'll see what I get there, and that gives me less than a week to finish. 
  • I did choose to write this version as more of an article so my argument is the focus. Then this summer I'll add the framing at the beginning that connects to the other #DevilDiss chapters, and end with how Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes revisit/illustrate these same issues.
  •  But still feeling a little paralyzed with the amount of Milton scholarship to address.
  • The second issue has to do with my survey chapters, chapters one and two. Now that it's complete with the Anglo-Saxon additions, chapter one is at sixty-nine pages. Chapter two still needs me to add the secondary scholarship, but is at forty-one pages. That seems excessive. Now, the subtopics help it flow and map out. And I always knew the survey chapters would be much bigger than the rest, but it's a concern.
So. It'll be a busy couple of weeks. In the next week I have to finish the Milton piece, as well as finish my Revising Milton class grading and such. There's a big project in my position as Core Writing Coordinator, but since it's a huge project (moving platform from PB Works to wikispaces) I think it's too big to be done in a week, and either will need to wait until next year if my position is renewed, or be handed off to the next person.
I'm striving to have all this finished this week. Because I still need to write a methodology/introduction how to for my dissertation director to know how to read the survey chapters,  finish adding the secondary scholarship to chapter two, and then give her the intro/how-to and chapters one and two.

I swear I'm taking a week off after the semester. To read non-academic books and sit in the sun.
But I do have final edits for my Twin Peaks article.
I was not awarded summer school classes, which I kind of needed the money of, but the pro is that it frees up my schedule this summer. I'll just be the library courier twice a week to Santa Fe.

Summer Schedule
May- Expand Shakespeare conference paper into Chapter 3: The Dramatic Devil/Absence of Devil in Shakespeare. If time expand Teen Wolf presentation from PCA 2015 into article and submit.
  • Check on status of Baca article sent out in December
June- Research 17th century pamphlets that include the devil, write Chapter 4.
July- Revise Milton chapter (5) for #DevilDiss
  • Check on status of American Gothic and Folklore article sent out in February
August- Revise prospectus into introduction. Write conclusion. Update job market materials. Send CH 3-5 plus intro and conclusion to dissertation director. Get CH 1 and 2 back with revision notes

Throughout summer get head start on Beowulf for independent study that is the last degree requirement other than the dissertation. This is also will free me up at the beginning of Fall semester to focus on job applications
So, any advice for my issues (and yes realize that opens up HUGE door).
But since this is pretty much how I feel at this point in the semester...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

End of Semester Grad School Checklist

Your Coursework
  • Everyone is tired at the end of the semester. And it's tempting to just get through, get done, and then take a break. And you should. But, now's also a good time to revisit your degree plan. I created mine my first semester, then color coded it (and adapted each semester with course availability). This ensures you stick to a plan, see the big picture, and graduate in a reasonable time.
  • Talk to everyone. I straddle the medieval/early modern divide, and my dissertation director is an early modernist, but one of my go to professors to run things by is an ALS prof. Another is an Anglo-Saxonists. Use the faculty you feel comfortable talking to as sounding boards.
  • Make your courses work towards your final goals. They should built your thesis or your comp reading lists, or parts of your dissertation.

Your Dissertation/Thesis 
  • Forward progress is all that matters. Let me repeat that- forward progress is all that matters. Each semester you should be making progress towards your masters thesis or dissertation. Choose courses that will feed into these projects. Talk to your professors about tailoring course/seminar papers towards your topic.
  • Talk to your professors about tailoring your papers for specific publications. As much as they will let you write papers as articles for submission, do so. If not, ask them if they'll look at revisions so you can submit. Aim to submit everything you write. And I don't mean send crap out. I mean aim to write things worth sending out. Aim to clarify your scholarship, what you add to the conversation.
  • Plan out your next year according to conferences in your field where you can try out ideas. I was taught that the process was conferences paper (so your argument was foregrounded) then once you had feedback you expanded into an article and sent out. Conferences also allow you to build networks. With rare exceptions, I don't see the value in presenting at grad student only or regional conferences (unless it's something like PCA or MLA).

Your Teaching
  • I believe reflection is key to improving your skills as a teacher, creating a good class culture, and having a successful class. I have students reflect through surveys, and emails every four weeks in my class. My end of semester reflection is my favorite though. Examples can be found here.  Not only will you hear from them in their letters honestly about what you can improve but from their memes and gifs you'll have things pointed out you weren't aware of. Use these things to reflect before you teach again.
  • While it's all clear in your mind, make a copy of your current syllabus. Go through and make notes on it based on what you did this semester- readings to replace, assignments to redesign, weeks to switch. I do this all semester, but it's worth doing now if you haven't do that when you go to teach the course again, you won't have to remember all the brilliant fixes you had.
  • Offer to give students information on classes in your department if they still have courses to take. I am teaching an Early English Survey in the Fall, and inspired by something I saw @kiapple do I created a movie for it. I showed this to my current ENGL 220 students in case they need/want to take another English class. I also offered to talk to them about other English courses, professors, etc. Support your department and encourage enrollment.

  • Be clear and reasonable with your students about when you'll turn around final assignments/grades. If you're not going to lock yourself in your room and grade for 48 hours straight, don't give them an unrealistic deadline. Take the time you need.
  • Electronic or paper submission for final projects: Your choice, but you might want to ask your students. Are they more likely to read the feedback if it's electronic? Or do they really just care about the grade you put in at that point? If so, be clear about how long you'll hold onto papers.
 So what are your end of semester must-dos?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Initial Thoughts on Daredevil, A Trip Down Memory Lane, and Thoughts on How You Can't Go Home Again

When I first moved to NYC in 2000 I made a beeline for a bar called the Kevin St. James in Hell's Kitchen at 46th and 8th.
 No, I wasn't an alcoholic. A friend of mine has been on vacation in the city mainly to see Kevin Spacey in The Iceman Cometh. She had stood outside to get his autograph and when he got in a cab, pulled a movie move and followed him. She lost him (sort of) in Hell's Kitchen, but walked into a bar and asked if he had just been in there. The bartender said yes, and they sat and talked for a while. So when I moved to NYC my friend told me to check out the bar.
I lived in Brooklyn (Grand Army Plaza) back then so it was a couple of weeks before I got into the city. I walked in, the bartender with a great smile asked me what brought me in because it was during the day and I told him the story. His response?
Oh, Sarah? With the curly hair?
I had just met Kevin, the owner (he always said James his partner got the St. in front of his name because he was the money man).
And I had just found my neighborhood bar.
I always spend more time with the staff than the customers, so it's perhaps no surprise that I became friends with Kevin, and George (above on the right) his manager. Later there was Peter the Irish bartender. In 2000/2001 it was reflective of the larger changes in the neighborhood, more upscale on some nights, more suits than you'd expect to see in Hell's Kitchen, but the largest population at the Kevin St. James was always the people of Hell's Kitchen itself, the firefighters, the still mostly Irish population. Kevin's dad had been a bartender in the neighborhood, and this bar was his dream. He was a strong supporter of the firefighters, way before it was trendy and patriotic to do so.
I left NYC in 2004, and was sad to hear that the Kevin St. James had closed. I have no pictures of my time there, it was before cataloging your life online in pictures was de rigeur. But I was able to find images online that captured some of the magic. There's a mention of the bar in a book, Past Redemption by Savannah Russe. David Arquette filmed a photo shoot there just before it closed.
Memories of the bar  float around here and there.
Apparently the whole block was bought out and turned into condos for rich folks. News reports Kevin has moved to a new bar, and that makes me happy. But I mourn the passing of the Kevin St. James because it was so representative of a neighborhood and a time period.

I was reminded of all of this this past week as I watched Netflix/Marvel's Daredevil
 Daredevil perhaps more than other comics is innately tied to not just place, but time. Over the weekend, as people watched- some binging, some rationing themselves, some questions about place came up. I had one such conversation with
The  conversation started with a discussion of the stereotypical villains- Chinese drug lords, Russian mafia, Japanese Yakuza. And I wondered if this was a gesture to how delineated the neighborhoods of NYC are or were due to ethnicity.

For New Yorkers, past and present, there are always critiques of movies or television shows set in NYC. Kevin and I both confessed confusion over the opening scene at the docks, as the waterfront is not typically associated with Hell's Kitchen.  We both marked the shooting location as probably Silver Studios due to the exterior shots and what was in the background. And we talked about how it didn't really look like Hell's Kitchen. Or any NYC neighborhood.
And I think the reason is Hell's Kitchen isn't Hell's Kitchen anymore.
In the narrative of the show this is explained away as part of the aftermath of the destruction from The Avengers when a good chunk of NYC is destroyed in the invasion/showdown. In fact this rebuilding is key to the main plot and Fisk's motivation and actions. As Kevin pointed out, it's hard not to read this through a post-9/11 when there is still rebuilding and remaking fourteen years later.

But here's the problem- as much as I'm loving Daredevil, and rationing a couple of episodes a night to stretch out the love, watching the show got me thinking, about the Kevin St. James, and Hell's Kitchen, and whether or not you could go home again. Or rather, whether you could still tell a story about Hell's Kitchen if Hell's Kitchen didn't exist anymore.
Daredevil first appeared in 1964. Hell's Kitchen was different then, known as much for its Irish, working class population as for the violence gracing its streets. Its location was part of this, this is pre-1990sTimes Square cleanup. Hookers still graced streets, as did more of a criminal element.
I'm not the first person to comment that the Hell's Kitchen in the show is not the Hell's Kitchen of today.
But this is my question- can Daredevil still be Daredevil if the neighborhood that anchors and defines the character, doesn't exist anymore. It's not the post-Avengers rebuild that makes this difficult, as post-9/11 even now makes that easy (unfortunately) to still read in any NYC set piece. Rather it's the fact that the long term residents of Hell's Kitchen, the Irish, the Puerto Ricans, the working class people have been priced out of their generational homes. Ms. Cardenas being pushed out of her home by first Tully then Fisk is reflective of what has happened the last decade. The people that once made and defined that neighborhood are no longer there. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't afford to anymore.
A similar thing has happened in neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and some neighborhoods in Queens as rich, entitled people have spread out from Manhattan and displaced generations of residents.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving Daredevil, and Charlie Cox as Matt Murdoch. And I'm looking forward to finishing the series (although I already know they can't make season two fast enough for me!).
But I wonder how the series will end, or work long term with these issues of erasure. The series so far seems critical of people, represented by Fisk, that would remove the older generation. But the paradox is the series is set in the current time, so these people were removed a long time ago. Does the show illustrate nostalgia for an older time? Does it reframe it to comment on post 9/11? Or is it just ignoring this situation and overlaying the Daredevil narrative over the now, without considering these larger issues?

All I know is that the show is great, I miss the Kevin, and as much as I wish you could, you can't go home again.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#DevilDiss Not All Milestones are Tangible

Today was one of those research days when it's easy to feel like nothing really got done. It's an easy thing to happen during the PhD, there are lots of days where the heavy lifting of your work day is sitting there thinking through something. Or reading for ten hours straight.

Which is part of the reason I blog/post pictures of my work. I think it's important to know what goes into all this, and share with other scholars so others know they're not the only ones.

When I am walking Nehi is usually when I come up with my best ideas- how to work through a problem, how to argue a point, or a solution to something that has been bothering me. But it doesn't look like work.

Yesterday and today were those types of days- did nothing but read and take notes. Granted, I had to do this in order to expand my Old English and Milton conference papers into articles which will then become a part of chapters in the #DevilDiss and the concluding chapter of the #DevilDiss.
So here's what I did today.
  • Read and took notes on Early Modern Nationalism and Milton's England as this is my foundational text for arguing that Milton uses the folkloric devil in order to present a unified commonwealth.

  • I went through the huge stack of books on my shelf and skimmed to figure out what chapters had to be photocopied for notes versus what was not going to be helpful for library/office run on Monday.
  • Add Old English references to Zotero so those books can be returned.
  • Also managed by clearing out all this to refocus/reorganize the dissertation book shelves.

All in all, feeling good about today's progress, even though there's no tangible object to celebrate at the end of the day.
I'm in great shape now having read the research to expand both the Old English and Milton conference papers into articles. The Old English article is on deck for tomorrow, and the Milton one for Monday, so we'll see how it goes.

Friday, April 10, 2015

#DevilDiss 10 April Anglo-Saxon Thoughts

This week I finished the conference version of "The Popular and Folkloric Origins of the Emerging Anglo-Saxon Devil" and redid the conference presentation slides.
I sent it off to my professor for feedback, but some interesting things came up in our Anglo-Saxon Evil seminar this week that made me think about how to address, situate my work:
  • Am I concerned with answering how the Anglo-Saxons viewed the devil OR
  • Do I want to focus on how the Anglo-Saxon devil can be read now?
And the answer I came up with is, both. As someone who takes a folkloric approach to literature, and is deeply invested in historicizing, and examining how literature can reflect a particular historical and cultural moment as well as anxieties, desires, and fears, I think the only answer is both.

That being said, we also had a conversation about the more historical, often more conservative (read no theory) approach of Anglo-Saxonists. My work is deeply rooted in close readings at a vocabulary level- so my conference paper (above) which I'm expanding into an article, which will eventually get put into survey chapters of #DevilDiss, focuses n identifying and then discussing the relevance, of all the words used to describe the devil.

Today I'm reading through articles and scholarship for expanding the conference paper into an article and have run into a couple of issues. The first is that there is little scholarship that focuses on the devil in Old English poetry. The other is how to expand a paper that focuses on close reading without it feeling like filler? If I want to use a psychoanalytical + historicist approach am I writing a piece that outside of my #DevilDiss won't be read or accepted? At this stage, does that matter?

My approach certainly comes with traps. I run the risk of not being taken seriously, not having my work recognized or accepted, and not being able to publish my work on Anglo-Saxon texts.
It's the more general issue I have to explain the next year with going on the market, and partly is answered with how I hashtag my work- it's the #DevilDiss. That's my focus- on the character of the devil across time periods and genres. So I can work in medieval or early modern or Milton because of my focus.

Monday, April 6, 2015

#DevilDiss Update 6 April (post-conference push)

As of Saturday when I returned home from PCAACA15 I realized that I had spent nine out of the last twelve days conferencing between that and SCMS15.

In one of the three days I was home last week I met with my dissertation director to discuss my timeline (AKA my last post about misunderstandings). I went in freaking out a little, and as always, came out feeling more centered and more sure about what I was going to do.

So, the timeline has been adjusted a bit:
  • By the end of this semester I will get CH 1 and 2 to her, along with a brief methodology "cheat sheet" so she knows how to read these chapters. This means that I will have time to incorporate notes from a committee member before sending to her. It also means that I feel like the pressure is off a bit. While CH 1 is done except for Anglo-Saxon bits, and CH 2 is almost done, this new revised timeline means that when I submit to her both chapters will be done, done, and as good as I can get them without help.
  • At some point over the summer I'll get these chapters back with notes.
  • Over the summer I will take CH 3 Shakespeare chapter, and CH 5 Milton chapter and revise into chapters from a conference presentation and stand alone article respectively. I'm actually submitting CH 5 for my director's class, so those should be minor.
  • I'll also write CH 4 about the devil in pamphlets over the summer.
  • One great thing my director said was to think about how these chapters functioned together, and write them with those connections in mind. 
  • I'll send her CH 3-5 and my introduction and conclusion to her in August for notes. Hopefully, that means that the whole #DevilDiss will be in a place where I can have notes fall semester and she will feel comfortable communicating my progress to the rest of the committee. With a big asterisk that may not happen. But I also shared that the reason for my timeline had a lot to do with running out of money, so she's aware of that.
This summer I will also research post-doc opportunities to apply for in addition to applying for jobs.
I've also put in to teach summer school because- broke. And said I'll be the library courier for Bread Loaf for the same reason.
My Anglo-Saxon Devil paper I'm writing for Anglo-Saxon Evil seminar has been accepted to the AFS conference in October which hopefully will add visibility, but not require extra work. However, it also means that I won't be applying for the MTSU Milton Conference because they run at the same time.

So in addition to the revised timeline, the table of contents changed some:
“Pondering his voyage”: The Popular and Folkloric Origins of the English Devil from the Anglo-Saxons Up Through Paradise Lost
  1. The Devil You Know
    1. Introduction
    2. Chapter One “”Our Enemy”: The Physical Markers of the Devil”
    3. Chapter Two ““Dark Suggestions” and “Dark Designs”: The Personality and Actions of the Devil”
  2. Full of the Devil
    1. Chapter Three ““Hell is empty”: The Absence of Devil in Shakespeare”
    2. Chapter Four “Raise the Devil: The Devil’s Polemic Use in 16th and 17th Century Pamphlets”
    3. Chapter Five “Between the devil and the deep blue sea: Milton’s Use of the Folkloric Devil in Paradise Lost”
    4. Conclusion

So I'm feeling good about these notes and the new timelines. I think the work will be in a much better place before it goes to my director, and this new set of deadlines still allows for my tight schedule (hopefully). It also means I'm a little less stressed about everything that has to get done in the next four weeks before the end of the semester.
Today's #DevilDiss writing day is focused on turning the Old English presentation into a conference paper so I can send it off to my professor. I also need to revise my Milton conference paper re: director's notes for our meeting tomorrow.
So I better get to it!