Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Summer 2017 Dissertation Update

1 June 2017

#DevilDiss take Four Million and Twelve

It's been a busy year, and a busy end of the semester.

It's been about a month since I sent off the latest revisions, and since then there's been Kzoo, and I had a chapter to write based on the How to Grad School While Poor wiki, and my uni class to finish, and my high school job to wind down.

So busy, busy enough that while I'm champing at the bit to be done, there's been plenty of things to fill the time.
People have said "it'll be fine." "It'll all work out." "Everyone goes through this" these last couple of months. I've also heard "you're so close!" And I appreciate the cheerleading. But especially the last month it's been hard not to feel like I'm in limbo, not moving forward, similar to how I felt last summer. But I know a lot of that is the process, where I am, and is normal.

There were some good things to this semester- I have my high school teaching job for next year, so I can pay rent and buy Nehi's kibble. I am not teaching this summer, essentially my first true summer off since 2013, the year I moved out here. All I have to do this summer is diss revisions, and I did sign up to get certified for my district to teach online courses.
So lots of clearing out my TBR pile, and snuggles with Nehi.
I will not be teaching at my uni this upcoming year unless something changes, but I'm trying to see that as a blessing, only having one job, for the first time in a long time. And if I'm defended and done early fall? That could be so very nice.

But I'm still not graduated.
Still not defended.
And every time I see people, they ask- are you done yet? Are you a doctor?
And I'm touched they care to ask but I also want to cringe. Please stop asking. I finally started saying, "Trust me, when I'm done, defended, a DOCTOR, I will scream it from the rooftops."
 I just met with my director for three hours and here's where we are:
The entire dissertation is done. Has been done since this spring. So there's that.
✓ We're at the point where I'm making stylistic, throughline changes with my director, and have addressed a couple rounds of notes from my committee.
✓  Today I got notes on the latest (revised) introduction, chapter 3 (the Shakespeare chapter), and chapter 4 (the Milton chapter). My director is happy with where things are, and the notes are pretty minor.

Most of these notes I can turn around in a day, which is nice.

So, the next steps:
✓ I will spend the next few days addressing those notes. Then I will send the revised intro and chapter three to my early modernist committee members.
✓  My director and I will meet again Tuesday after she's had a chance to look at chapters 1 and 2 and the conclusion.
✓ Then I will fix those notes and send the whole thing to an outside scholar who is an expert on the devil and has said they'll read and offer notes. I'm also going to send the whole thing to my outside reader. There have been some issues with addressing their notes, in part because they're the Miltonist, and the Milton chapter is the final chapter and revisits how the patterns from the first three chapters (devilish leaders, demonic parliaments, and diabolical rebellion) are seen in Paradise Lost. So in addition to fixing their notes, I'm thinking (hoping) that sending them the whole thing so they can SEE this will help.

I am going to ask for a couple of things when I send stuff out this time.
  1. Clearly, at this point, if there's something wrong I don't know how to fix it on my own, so I'm going to ask that they specifically tell me, walk me through it.
  2. I'm going to explain that my director and I have talked about my schedule and we're aiming for a mid September defense, so I'm aiming to get the whole thing to them mid August. So I'm going to ask them to get notes on these drafts back to me by the end of June, so there's time for a round after this of revisions. I'd like with the next round (in July) to send it out as the One Doc, so if they want they can look at other things, format, see whole size/scope if they want.
While one of my early modern committee members is a VAP, and so is leaving, they told my director they were happy to stay on my committee.
And my other early modernist is coming back from a fellowship, so will be back o campus for the first time in a year (although I really hope that just means I only have to Skype in half my committee and not that we need to hold lots of face to face meetings.)
My director leaves the country at the end of the month and is back the end of July, but that should be fine. Hopefully (please, GOD, let this be true!), the notes back from committee by end of June, and certainly any notes from next round by end of July, certainly, will be super minor, and we can work on just through email.

So that's the diss plan.
It allows me to do the majority of the work this summer, when I'm off, which is good. I'm aiming to have the fixes done from June as soon as I get them. Then July notes the same, and the whole thing to director by the end of July/beginning of August. Beginning of August she'll look at the whole thing, and offer last look notes. I report back to my high school teaching job 7 August so hopefully I won't be working really on the diss at that point. Maybe some minor style, typo type things. 
Fingers crossed!

This summer, I don't really have much else to do. I have a couple of projects I'd like to get done/make progress on:
  • Take chapter two on Þe Deulis Parlement and revise it so it's an article and submit it (welcome suggestions if you know a good fit).
  • Find out what the tiny book on tattoos would entail. This will dictate how I take my Kzoo paper and revise it, narrow it, into an article on reading the Katherine Group hagiographies through the torture as narratives written on body lens (also welcome suggestions if you know a good fit. This takes modern sociology research on tattoos and applies it to torture as narrative).
  • I feel good about my job market materials, having been through two job prep workshops/classes with them, but some things need updating so I'll do that. Plus, I have a new director who has a lot of experience, so I look forward to seeing what she says.
  • My director also recommended going through whole diss and double checking the bibliography. I've been adding new things as I go but I think after next Tuesday what I'll do is put everything in the One Doc and start working there, so it's easier.

But that's it. I have my Captain America and Class piece that was got an edited collection accepted, and then was cut, so I may try sending that out somewhere. I had a friend working on a Biblical Epics in Film edited collection that I said I'd write a chapter on- focusing on the devil in The Passion of the Christ, reading it through a post 9/11 lens. This will fit nicely with some of my work on demonizing Others in politics, and will use The Last Temptation of Christ as a touchstone for controversy, historical moment, etc. I can also use some of the Harrowing stuff the diss has. But that's not due til January, so I have the fall to putter.

But that's it.
There may be a Kzoo presentation for 2018, but that's spring semester work.
I put in for #ShakeAss because I've been advised to, and for the first time it falls over my spring break so I won't have to take time off PLUS it is in LA so the cost shouldn't be awful. But again, that's after the new year work.
And for the first time, I'm not teaching for UNM next year unless something changes, so nothing to prep there.

But that's it.
It's a really manageable schedule, so I should have plenty of time for rest, recharging. Which I guess is nice.
But this is how I feel...
Like the entirely of my life is totally out of my control.
That I have no control, or control over little.

I am hoping that this summer goes according to plan.
I hope that this time, the plan, the calendar, for defending (successfully) and graduating happens. My director believes it will, so that's something. Actually, she believes in me, so that's a lot. She even joked today about December graduation (versus May which always conflicts with Kzoo) being better!

At this point, I'd just like to be done. To be able to move on. Make plans.
But at this point, I have announced that I was defending TWICE. Made plans TWICE. Told people TWICE. And it hasn't happened. So, sadly, this great thing, this HUGE accomplishment, isn't something I'd celebrate, invite people, make a big deal of. Because I just can't be disappointed, or disappoint others, any more.
I will be proud. And happy. But I have a feeling I'll be those things by myself.

Defending (successfully), graduating, means that I can pass GO. Collect my $200. Go on the job market. Start thinking what my life looks like after the PhD. Start planning.

So, what are your summer plans?

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