Sunday, November 21, 2010
library: 1; me: -3; lor writers: 2
Things are getting a little better here.
First, however, things got a lot worse: the library took all my books back under threat of making me pay for them/never giving me any more. Does anyone know how hard it is to do research when you're not connected to a university and you live in the middle of nowhere? Not a single book was actually from my local library, or local library's wider system. They were all ordered from different (mostly university) systems and painstakingly waited for over a period of weeks. Then the loan periods were very short-- some were three days. (Luckily Anna gave me her Caltech access, so I can use their library resources online.) Now they are all gone and I will probably not get them back before all of my writing needs to be done on the 12th, my first deadline.
I moped about this for a whole night and day because it seemed impossible to go on without them. The thing is, though, I am quite used to working under adverse circumstances, so I've pushed through and might just be able to do it without them if I can actually get working really really hard.
My life is all a confusion of Dracula and the immense varied mess of different ether theories: cultural, scientific, nineteenth century scientific, the sentimental nuts in the twentieth century, supernatural, materialistic, ancient etc. And oh my god, it is hard to keep track of all of them. At this point, I'm not sure how to focus my argument. My goal right now is to just keep writing, see what I come up with, and then edit out the less convincing bits.
The good thing is that I've stopped just taking notes and I've started writing. I'm not a big fan of the outline and most of my process takes place in drafting, so the mental block that was keeping me from writing was KILLING me. Let us hope it doesn't come back. I also hope that the result isn't complete bunk; it is sometimes hard to tell when you're trying to be original in English.
I still get a horrible sinking feeling whenever I think about the people who are supposed to be writing me letters of recommendation. Only one, the most senior, has responded since I sent my packet and then, a month later, the link to upload the letter to Interfolio. Would it kill them to send a line or two via email, telling me they're going to or not going to write the letter? It would be completely dastardly if they changed their minds and didn't tell me in time to make other plans.
If I ever become a professor, I promise not to cruelly toy with the hopes of young, aspiring academics. Really, professors, letting me know that you're backing out, if you are, is just common decency.