I've continued to teach at my high school, taught Saturday school, served on my school's instructional council...and not much else.
Part of this I think is sheer exhaustion.
Part of it is, I'm not sure where I go from here.
It's December, and I've heard nothing on jobs, and part of me isn't really sure what the point is.
I purposely didn't look at many conferences this year because I'll have to pay for all of them out of pocket, and high school teachers don't get anything for them (in fact, I'll be docked the days I take), and if there's no higher ed job, what's the point?
I'm kinda feeling the same way about scholarly work.
What is the point if I'm just going to end up being a high school teacher?
I have a book chapter on biblical epics due by the end of the year that's mostly done.
I am editor of a Tiny Collection for Material Collective called #MedievalMarks. The drafts are due to me by the end of the year, and I'll read and give notes and turn around in January.
I have a short roundtable piece to draft for Kzoo about pedagogy and my "Dark Devil as Basis For Racist Shit"* paper (*not actual title, although maybe it should be) was rejected from the panel I submitted it for but was accepted for general, so yeah! And I've been percolating on these ideas, so that will be easy.
I also have my notes on FOX's Exorcist to turn into a presentation.
I have a couple of longer, more researched blog posts I want to do. One is my supposed story- my hypothesis of why the English devil is dark and animalistic (it's because of imported Norse mythology and folklore) and why I can't prove it...yet. I'd like to think it will become a much larger piece, perhaps even a book that analyzes the roots of English folklore by tying to maps of monasteries and manuscripts.
But for now, I have this...
I have an article, an expansion of last year's Kzoo tattoo paper, that applies theory about heavily tattooed women to the narratives of medieval saints written on their body in the Katherine group. I've done the close readings, and the research, but it all needs to be pulled together.
I have an idea, that also came out of the original diss, about writing about different medieval Merlin tales as conversion narratives.
I also have a ridiculously ambitious digital project based on my original dissertation.
The home page would be dominated at the top by a scrolling time line of images and titles. If you click on the image it would provide a brief synopsis, links to the text (online if available, library links if not), and links to the major scholarship.
Side menu pages would deal with categories the devil fits in, and provide analysis of the meaning and significance of these groupings.
It is a huge project that I'd love to pair with a more web savvy person than myself, perhaps a grad student who would like the project credit? But I also think that it wouldn't be ridiculous to get off the ground, and I'd love the chance to learn more.
Once the foundation is there, I can add and build onto it. But I think it would be a great resource, one I'd also ideally like to test run with a class on this, and a way to use all that work I did for the original diss.
So, easily, a year? Maybe two? Of publications and projects to work on. Which is good, right? I mean, I've never been someone who worries that they don't have more work in them.
I published half of my publication credits while teaching high school full time, and teaching for an online high school, and adjuncting at the community college. I published the other half while finishing my doctorate. So clearly, I CAN juggle. I COULD do this.
But here's the thing. I love all these projects. I am excited about researching them, presenting them, writing them.
But if I'm going to be a high school teacher, and not a college professor, then there is absolutely no sense in me doing any of them.
It's December 11th. There have been no job contacts. No phone interviews. No invitations to Skype. Which means there will be no campus visits, or interviews, or jobs. I put this out on social media and promptly got the- "it's early," "plenty of jobs post late," " I got..." and I just deleted the post. Because I didn't want to hear it. I'm 41 and 3/4. I do not have the time or energy for pie in the sky wishes and dreams.
So I have decisions to make.
I've signed a contract to turn the diss into a book, so I'll do that.
I'll easily complete the chapter on biblical epics.
I'll just as easily finish the conference presentations for the spring.
Editing the Tiny Collection will be fun, but nothing anxiety producing.
But I find myself treading water on the rest.
YES, of course, I think all the rest of the scholarly projects are interesting, and contribute to the field, and I like. But if I'm a high school teacher, there's no reason to do them. In fact, doing them means maybe I'm not picking up the extra Saturday schools to make rent, or my student loan payment.
Plus, isn't continuing to present at conferences, and write articles, just self-flagellation?
Honestly, I have six publications (half journals, half edited collections), sixteen years teaching experience, over a dozen of conference presentations, and a book contract. If I didn't get a job this year, there's nothing that will change that in the next year.
So why bang my head against that wall?
And maybe that's the thing. The thing Kelly Baker talks about so eloquently in Grace Period, the difficulty in letting go. Because it doesn't happen all at once. It's not a clean break. It's saying goodbye to the actual- the teaching job, the place at university. And then it's letting go of the more intangibles- what it's like when you don't have to build a calendar around getting conference papers accepted, so you can turn them into articles or chapters, so you can stay on the hampster wheel of publishing at least one thing a year.
It means not defining yourself by your scholarly publications.
It means that you don't need to keep up with the reading, the book reviews, the list-servs, or Twitter, to stay on top of all the current conversations in my field.
A lot of time post-diss I think is spent figuring out what comes next.
What life is like now that it's all done.
Some of these are big things- how do I want to brand myself as a scholar, how do I juggle responsibilites.
But other ones are just as big, but more basic. How do I pay rent? Where do I want to live? What do I want my life to be?
At this point, I don't know. But I guess I'll figure it out.