Yeah, today's a good day, a day deserving of some bullets...even though it is freezing...
- Before he left on Sunday, M. burned me a whole bunch of music, including some things that I'm finding to be pretty jaw-droppingly fabulous and am having to fight with myself not to play over and over and over again. I so needed new music!
- You know, this whole book project? It is coming together! I think. I have been working around one of two major pieces of the theoretical framework for a few months (in focused reading, I mean, as well as writing one conference paper). I have just moved into thinking about the other major theoretical pole (which I will try to wade into for my upcoming conference paper). Even though I haven't yet figured out exactly how to articulate the connection between these two poles perfectly (or at all), I can sense it brewing. I can sense it coming. And when I sit down to write the first chapter this July and August (for I have decided to start with writing my theoretical first chapter, because otherwise nothing will cohere, I fear), I think there's going to be some good stuff happening. I think.
- However. My upcoming conference? Terrifying. Notwithstanding its amazing tropical locale. Terrifying. Looking over the program gives me cold sweats. It feels really big-league. There are some major, major players scheduled. The only other time I remember feeling this nerved out about a conference was when I presented at a small one at an Ivy League school, and there were no concurrent sessions so everyone attended everyone else's paper, including Seriously-Major-Bigwig. I thought I'd pass out. But then, I try and remember how that conference resulted in a publication for me (as well as support from the Bigwig in applying to do a postdoc with hir) so perhaps it will be good to wade into the big leagues again. Maybe good things will come of it. And anyway, I should stretch myself, yes?
- Yes. I should stretch myself. The distance covered by this particular stretch is a little much for my liking, though - since I am essentially an impostor in the territory of this conference. An impostor trying to remake herself in its image. Yeah, I know that's cryptic...
- Okay, now for some solicitation of advice: I am having a meeting with my Dean soon. I have historically had (what I deem to be) some bad encounters with my Dean (ranging from major awkwardness to outright hostility), which is just silly considering how short a time I've been in this job. The last one was just recently, at Convocation - as always, it felt like a massively failed encounter. Part of what happens in these interactions is that I always always always am being chastised. I always seem to be admonished for something; it's remarkable. Given the fact that I am not doing anything wrong - trust me on this. But the tone, the tone: he approaches every interaction as if he must punish me. And the tone with which I react is just as bad: My reaction, always startled and caught off guard, is to passively take it. It's fucking ridiculous.
So, I want to change that. What should be my mantra? What should be the keywords I repeat to myself as I go into his office a few days from now, just wanting to have a conversation about the future of my program, some strategic direction, and one other little issue having to do with my eventual tenure bid (which hopefully won't happen, but you never know)? I'd love to know your thoughts on how to turn this relationship around. This is a powerful figure in my life. More powerful - because more micro-managerial - than any Dean I've known of. If I do end up being here for the long haul, it's essential that I don't feel so awful about this relationship.