Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Round 2 Revisions on #DevilDiss2 Complete

Everyone on my Twitter feed, and the Internet in general, is posting their end of year reviews.
Of movies. Of books. Of their academic successes, and failures. Of their life in review.

I began 2015 finishing studying for my PhD comprehensive exams.
I ended it with completing the second round of revisions on my dissertation.

I have just sent my Milton chapter, the sixth chapter, off to my director.
From 30 November to today I have sent them all six revised chapters. And with the holidays, I am sure it will be at least a couple of weeks, if not longer, before I get notes to start the third round of revisions on the dissertation.

This means that for now...
While I took Christmas day off, I have worked solid. I am horrible for taking days off. I've tried to be good about taking Sundays completely off from work, but as I noticed when talking to my godmother the other night, I really can't remember when I took time off-time off. I spent this past semester revising the dissertation, the summer drafting the first draft of the dissertation, this past spring studying for, then taking comps, then prepping and presenting my dissertation proposal defense. Last winter break I was studying for comps.
So maybe last fall?

No matter, the important thing is, for now, I am done.
I have nothing to do the next couple of weeks.

While the Puppy Overlord means that I haven't known what sleeping in is in six and a half years, it means naps are in my future.
Lots of naps.
And Netflix catch ups.
And naps as I fall asleep to Netflix.

Which is good, because I'm more than a little exhausted.
It's been a stressful (albeit productive) year. It's been a busy year.
  • I worked as a co-editor for an upcoming journal issue, which was an interesting experience both for seeing how a focused journal section came about, organizing it, and writing my own piece.
  • I went to MLA for the first time, presented at SCMS in Montreal (and got my first stamp in my passport having forgotten to ask them to stamp it in Vancouver at MLA) but did not like Montreal, and presented again at my home away from home of Fairy Tale Panels at PCA/ACA in New Orleans which I loved. 
  • My article “Don’t Just Print the Legend, Write It: The Odd Construction of Elfego Baca as Folk Hero” was accepted at Western Folklore and is forthcoming. I am really proud of this piece because it is based on archive work at the Center for Southwest Research, came out of an American West seminar, and deeply informed my pamphlet chapter approach for the dissertation. 
  • I was also invited to write a chapter, “‘I’m just a kid from Brooklyn’: Steve Rogers as Working Class Hero” for an edited collection,  Working Class Superheroes. Ed. Marc DiPaolo. Jackson: Mississippi UP. Under Contract. This was also a very cool experience because I was asked to expand an article I'd written for Sequart about Captain America: Winter Soldier as an indictment of the military industrial complex. 
  • My chapter “I Framed Freddy: Functional Aesthetics in the Nightmare on Elm Street series” in  Style and Form in the Hollywood Slasher Film. Ed. Wickham Clayton was released this fall, and I am very proud of this, and it was great to be able to write about Freddy Krueger again.
  • Since my director says I will defend by summer 2016, I went on the job market this fall and applied for about fifty jobs. As of this writing I still haven't heard from 24 of them, so assume I'm still in the running.
  • I designed, and taught, my first post-comps literature class, a Survey of Early English, which I built around the concept of Here Be Monsters.
  • I was also asked by my department chair to design and teach the large online lecture class of Early Shakespeare for the spring, which I'm really looking forward to.
  • And of course there was the initial draft, and two subsequent revisions of #DevilDiss.
I also wrote a bunch of shorter pieces, most non-academic, but still related to my interests. I continue to be indebted to Mike Phillips and @JulianDarius at Sequart for allowing me to pitch them crazy ideas and write for them.
I had several edited collections I proposed chapters for, but did not get in. One on werewolves, another on teaching. I sent a version of my Anglo-Saxon chapter out and it was rejected, but I got great notes that really improved the chapter. The rejections didn't bother me because frankly at this point, it's less things to focus on. 
The next few months the decks are cleared for staying focused on the dissertation.

So, turning the page, 2016 is going to be a year of changes.
  • In March I present at ACLA in Boston about John Constantine as anti-hero and his connections to the demonic
    • This is a great place to try out some of the ideas I start with my Revising Milton class that will become my next book project. And I was invited to submit, which is a nice feeling.
  • In April I'll present at PCA/ACA in Seattle about viewing Cinderella and its revisions through a Marxist lens 
  • In May I'll present at Kzoo a section of my dissertation on monstrous landscapes in Anglo-Saxon literature
  • Sometime before 15 July I will defend my dissertation because my director says I'm defending by summer and that's the deadline which means...
  • I will graduate this year. I will be Dr. Devil AKA Dr. Karra Heather Katherine Shimabukuro.
I confessed to my godmother the other night that on dark days I was worried I would be homeless and starving come June. She laughed at me, pointed out that I'd be 40 in February, and had not yet been homeless OR starving so the likelihood that I suddenly would be was slim to none.
I keep saying this, but I still hope I can convince my director to move my defense up before 15 April, as that will mean spring not summer graduation. Because I'd like to be done when I walk in May, and I don't know how I'll pay the $600 of tuition necessary to defend in July.

I don't know where I will be living.
I do not know how I'm paying bills once my TAship runs out in May.
I don't know what job I will have- I could be teaching high school here in Albuquerque. I could land a professor job. I could work for the federal government.

I could be working at Lowe's.
I look good in red.
There are some things I'd like to aim for, although the dissertation will be priority one the first half of the year.
  • I'd like to send off a version of chapter 4, my Shakespeare chapter, and see if I can get it published.
  • I'd like to get a book contract for #DevilDiss as it becomes The Devil You Know.
  • I'd like to expand my PCA/ACA paper from this past year on Teen Wolf and queer werewolves and submit it for publication.
  • I'd like to use my ACLA paper to start fleshing out, really thinking about my next big project, Revising Milton.

So I end the year feeling like I've accomplished a lot, but uncertain about my future.

Rather than spend the next month of forced time off worrying about this I will try instead to empty the DVR, spend quality time with Nehi, up our daily runs (once the unseasonable snow and ice melts and our run circuit in our neighborhood stops being a death trap). 
I'd like to catch up on some of the academic reading that got pushed aside as I laser-focused on dissertation revisions this past year, particularly the Wonder Woman book:
I may even read some non-academic books!  I am craving a Nora Roberts. And have books on the stack from my birthday LAST YEAR that have been gathering dust.
In the next couple of months I'll have notes to start round 3 revisions, and maybe even a defense date.
I'll also have some answers on the job market front so I can start planning which back up plans I'm pulling the trigger on.

Until then, I plan on throwing myself a Star Wars themed 40th birthday in a month.
And most importantly, I'll try to focus on the Zen lessons Nehi teaches me.
Because really anything is possible when you have woobies.
Happy New Year's to everyone, may you leave the past year behind you, and have nothing but good things in the coming year!

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