Monday, August 21, 2006

A New Year

A New Year



Well, the academic year is starting soon for most of us. Some of us have already started classes, some of us are in prep week, trying to get work done between seemingly interminable year-opening welcomes and meetings, and some of us still have a month or so to go! It's also a time when many of us do an accounting of what we've got done -- or not got done -- over the summer, in order to make our new year's resolutions and plans. Lots of depressing self-reflection goes on this time of year, sometimes deserved, sometimes not. Did we use our time well? What should we have done more of, or done better? What will we do next year to avoid feeling this way at the end of the summer?

Well, I'm having a hard time feeling like I've accomplished anything. Objectively, I suppose I have. I've moved across the country and settled in reasonably well in New Town. I'm mostly over the worst of the depression that hit right after I got here. Considering my last year and a half, the stress/depression shouldn't have been a surprise. I've survived my first week of being an official member of the SLAC community. I've got a grip on my classes, although I haven't quite got the syllabi together. Just a couple of days ago, I came up with an idea I want to explore for a paper to give at Kzoo next year, although I can't remember if there was a session in the CFP that looked appropriate for a paper on women and landholding/owning in the eastern part of Francia. (if you have ideas on secondary sources, though, please shoot them my way. This is new territory for me.) Still, I should be able to hammer out an abstract by the 15th, even if it has to go into the general hopper. And I believe (according to e-mail conversations with the RT organizer) that I'm set for a pedagogical panel, which I've been able to use to coordinate a new teaching experiment and will also be using to put in a bid for extra conference money and will with luck result in a write-up for a pedagogical journal of some kind. I hope.

So, not so bad. I've also written the first 500 words of a review. It took about an hour and a half, once I started, and then I just kind of stopped. It wasn't till I read this post at New Kid's that I realised I've really not been writing much at all this summer. One of the parts of adjusting was a very odd kind of withdrawal from my friends and family. I've been reading blogs, but haven't felt much like putting myself out enough to blog about much of interest or importance. New Kid's post made me realise that I really do write more scholarly stuff when I'm blogging about my work. It helps me to settle and to get into writing mode, because I really do compose in my head. I know it doesn't always seem that way, but my blog writing, as informal as it is, is public writing. So as part of my plan for a productive new year, I think you can expect more serious blogging, too. I think I will also try to take at least one vacation where I do not try to work. I need to remember how to have real down time, so I stop feeling guilty and unproductive all of the time.

You know on second thought, I'm not entirely a schlub. I got some stuff done. Not as much as I'd like, but still. Not as much as a Senior Colleague who at last count had written about 75,000 words, but ... hmph. Next time, maybe I'll tell you what I planned to have done by now! It includes having read Heather and Smith on the fall of Rome ... soon, really.

Hope your summers were more productive and that you all have a great new year!

8 comments:

timna said...

I felt as though I wasn't productive (no research, the kitchen is still not painted), but as these new syllabi roll out, I realized that I had done a lot of work back in June and early July.

Still, it is that time of year to evaluate. Or maybe it isn't? If we're not on the market this year, maybe we don't have to update the cv and send letters to advisors, etc., and we don't have to produce that particular annual report.

In any case -- enjoy the new gig!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

You, too! I'm so happy we're both employed. But now we have to do all those things that keep us in our jobs!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Hey. Moving across the country and starting a new job is a pretty big deal, and more than enough to suck up most of a summer. You'll get back into the swing of writing soon enough, but you shouldn't be hard on yourself for not having gotten more done - that's plenty!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I think you've accomplished a lot this summer! Moving and new-job-ing is just an utter time suck. Just don't let it get you down - it's water under the bridge now (and yeah, you don't have to go on the market this year, hooray!).

Another Damned Medievalist said...

That's the weirdest damned feeling ...

magistra said...

What approach are you taking to the question of women and landholding? There is a big divide in the research between an approach looking at laws/norms on female landholding and those looking at practice on the ground. For the latter, Warren Brown's 'Unjust seizure' is probably a good starting point, and (depending on what you include in East Frankia), Matthew Innes, 'State and Society in the early Middle Ages' (on the Middle Rhineland). Neither of these are specifically about women, but might well include some useful material.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Actually, I'm trying to see if the practices of the donors in my document set(s) follow the so-called norms or not. I have donations by women, single and married, and I'm not seeing any real rhyme or reason to whether they are donating independently or not, which is interesting to me. But I don't usually deal with the legal side of things, let alone the gendered legal side. I mean, I know generally what's in the lax Salica, but that's likely to be only partially relevant. I've read Innes, and I think there's some stuff there, on Lorsch, mostly (which I'll likely be looking at) and I've got that and Brown both ordered via Interlibrary Loan. It's really nice to get confirmation that I'm probably looking at some of the right things, though. I've also got something by Pauline Stafford ordered ... can't think what else .. a couple of things in German. Thanks! (and welcome, btw)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Oh, magistra -- I'm somewhat dubious on Innes' definition of the Middle Rhineland, btw. As far as I'm concerned, some of the areas included in his discussion are just plain East. I think that the areas he covers ask to be discussed in relation to each other (I'm not the only one -- Prinz and Störmer would agree, I'm sure), but Fulda isn't in the Middle Rhine area, and I think Innes even talks a bit about Bavaria.