Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What a Difference a Day (or two) Makes

After being Frustratingly Stuck on my current dissertation chapter for nearly a month, I finally had a breakthrough! I wasn't Brain Fart Stuck, but rather stuck in the sense of What the Hell Did I Think I Could Use This Play For??? While I thought I'd selected two great plays from two women writers that would work perfectly in this chapter, I re-read both pieces only to scratch my head and try to remember what it was I thought these plays could do for my project.

Play #1 didn't work at all.
Play #2 wouldn't fare much better.
Play #3 from one of the same writers was a loose fit.

So, back to the research. EEBO. ECCO. ESTC. And then...just when I thought I was running out of options, I found two plays that turned everything around. One of them is written by one of the writers that I'd already planned on studying, while the other play is writter under a pseudonym. Why is this important? Because it just so happens that Great Conference Across the Pond has the theme "Identity," and my advisor had long ago said that she thought I should submit a proposal. The deadline for proposals is this Friday. As of Monday morning, I had no idea what I could possibly propose. As of today, I not only found The Perfect Play to use for the conference paper proposal, but I also stumbled into a clear specific argument about the play, connecting it to the conference theme, AND I wrote and submitted the proposal!

In just three short days, I found the play that will work for the conference and my dissertation chapter, and I've already gotten some initial writing done!! Oh, the dam has broken, and it feels so good!

The cherry on top is that one of my committee members is considered Dr. Anonymity for the period. He's currently finishing a book on anonymous publication, but he's technically on leave this semester, so I wasn't sure if he'd be available to talk with me anytime soon. I sent him an e-mail explaining what I'd found and why the play works great for my diss, and he not only thinks it sounds like an interesting case, but he's also happy to meet with me next week to talk about the kinds of issues and questions I'll need to consider in terms of anonymous/pseudonymous writing in this area. Yay!! I just love, love the fact that all 4 of my commmittee members are actively publishing in the areas of my field that my dissertation considers specifically, and it sure doesn't hurt that they're all genuinely nice, supportive people.

Now, I just need for my kids to stay healthy so I can take advantage of all the work time I can get before the semester gets really busy (i.e. when students start turning in papers).


mgm said...

How great! Isn't it nice to just kinda stumble on something that fits nicely. Good luck on your proposal for Great Conference Across the Pond. That's exciting.

Oh, and will you be at Great Conference on This Side of the Pond in a couple of months?

AcadeMama said...

MGM: Alas, I would love, love to be at ASECS this year, but it wasn't meant to be :( I submitted a paper proposal for one of the sessions, but it wasn't accepted. I've since learned that there are a few tricks of the trade, however, to getting into ASECS as a grad student. So, in a month or so, I'll actually be contacting a few scholars who study the same thing I'm working on in the diss and ask them if they'd like to participate in a panel with me. One of my committee members said this route is often more successful because a)the scholar feels flattered and b)they don't have to worry about doing the work of organizing their own panel. We'll see how it goes.

Are you going??

mgm said...

Oh, bummer!

Yes, I am going. Last year it was during spring break at my university. This year, it is the week after spring break so it's really effing up my scheduling for my class. Listen to me complain . . .

The panel proposal is an excellent idea. Plus it'll get you some great, useful contacts whose brains you can pick.

Scrivener said...

Congrats on making your breakthrough. It feels so great when you finally feel momentum after banging your head against the wall for so long, doesn't it?

Lilian said...

Wow, that was a great breakthrough and the timing with the conference deadline was just perfect! And it looks like you chose your committee members well -- good for you (I sometimes get very frustrated with mine).