Over the last couple of weeks, I have been working on an article. It is a cobbling together of material from several chapters of my dissertation - the elaboration of a theory, really - and some new writing that helps pull it into coherent article form. I'd thought I'd put my dissertation to bed, having published one article from it. The thing was so incredubly diffuse and oddly organized that I felt I didn't have the patience to make sense of it, to discipline it, so to speak.
Of course, in making that assumption I was deliberately overlooking the theoretical apparatus, which could, I knew, plausibly be turned into a nice, meaty article. I ignored it because the theory involves a juxtaposition that could be seen as scandalous by some. Absolutely wacky. You know, like using, I don't know, some chemical engineer's outre theory to theorize haiku. Or whatever. A hugely interdisciplinary - even "intergalactic" - move. The kind of thing that could be instantly, laughingly dismissed.
But it always nagged at me. After all, I earned my PhD - and even an award for my dissertation - on this scandalous juxtaposition, so it must make some sense. And I need publications while I work on a new book project, and this would work so nicely. I could envision it. Plus - and honestly this is what has become so important, lately - so much of the work has already been done. So in the last couple weeks, I've been working with the scandalous theory, and have gotten most of a draft of an article together, combining dissertation fragments with original writing. (It is going to require more rigorous revision than I've ever done, I'm afraid.)
But sending this article out to the biggest - well, the only - journal in my sub-subfield is an absolutely frightening experience. All I can imagine is laughter and incredulity. After all, my PhD committee didn't have anybody on it who was really expert in "haiku" - they were experts in "chemical engineering." The journal is for the haiku experts. This is, then, the first time I've put this material out to them. (The one time I presented on this scandalous connection, at a big international conference, where it was received well enough, there were no haiku experts present. When I've presented and published material on haiku, it's been not in haiku fora, but in chemical engineering spaces or spaces related to the third thing I triangulate with all of this, "agricultural history.")
I could either make a little name for myself in haiku studies, or I could be run out of the joint. I am really not at all an audacious person, and so I feel as if I'm inhabiting a very different plane here, with what is indubitably going to seem like an audacious theoretical move in this context.