May 28, 2011

There she goes again...

Yet another pile of books

Well. My attempt to return to blogging full-time doesn’t seem to be going so well, does it? Just as I was beginning to emerge from a month-long brain haze induced by my dissertation proposal and other graduate school deadlines, I got sidetracked and overwhelmed all over again. At least this time around some of the reasons were fun ones – I’ve been doing other things, like travelling and going to concerts – but in the end it all still comes down to having so much on my plate personally and academically and not quite knowing how to manage it all.

I know this is nothing new: many of my favourite bloggers are or were graduate students at some point, and I’ve watched them go through more or less the same over the years. But I’m used to being more in control of my life and my time, so this new situation is requiring some psychological adjustment on my part. On the bright side, at least my research project means enough to me that I don’t ever resent it keeping me away from other things I’m passionate about. And that makes a world of difference.

I certainly don’t mean to imply that those of us who blog are driven to do so by a lack of professional fulfilment, but in my case in particular the fact that blogging gave me something that was otherwise lacking in my life was always a huge motivator. This hasn’t really ceased to be the case, but I’m finding that a lot of what I value about blogging – intellectual community, exchange of ideas, the chance to speak up about or draw attention to issues that are hugely important to me – is also a part of academic research, even if in very different ways.

To make matters worse when it comes to blogging, March, April and May were my slowest reading months in the past four years. This means things are going to remain slow on the reviewing front for some time to come, but I’m dealing with it in the best way I can – which is by accepting that no matter how absent I currently am, blogging will remain a part of my life for as I want it to be one. I know my readers will remain patient with me, so all I have to do is extent that same patience to myself.

Anyway, the real goal of this post is to let you know that I’m going home next week and may therefore disappear from the blogging world yet again. For all I know I’ll be able to use that time to write a few blog posts, but amidst taking care of a few personal matters, seeing family and friends, spending time with my cats and dogs (who I haven’t seen since Christmas), and doing as much dissertation work as I possibly can, I might not be able to get around to it.

I thought I’d leave you with a picture of the books I’m considering taking with me. A lot of them are work related (or, more accurately, books I’m using my dissertation as an excuse to read. I know there’s some danger of getting sidetracked right there, but I’m trying to prevent this by limiting them to my spare time rather than my “official” work time), but I’m hoping to be able to squeeze in a fun read or two, or at least finish the two great (but very long) books I’m currently reading.

Take care of yourselves, my friends, and I’ll see you again when life allows it.

36 comments:

  1. I hope you have fun when you go home and we will all still be here when you get back.

    I hope you enjoy West Of the Moon!

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  2. Vivienne, I'm really enjoying it so far! I just need to find some time to really settle down with it, as it seems to be one of those books you can really lose yourself in - and unfortunately lately I mostly read in 10 minutes spells here and there :\

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  3. We're all still here, Ana. :) And will keep being here no matter what.

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  4. Yeah but everything you have been doing has been all about living! No need to apologize for traveling, going to concerts and being with friends and family. It makes my heart feel good that you are having so much fun after all that hard work. I think the key is to just give the old blog a post now and again to keep it alive until you need it again. I'm not taking you off my reader, Ana!

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  5. No need to apologize, we'll be here when you have time to start reading and blogging again! Your pile of books makes me immensely curious about your dissertation, which looks fascinating based solely on the book stack.

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  6. Enjoy your time at home and honestly Ana...I just enjoy reading about whatever you're up to!!

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  7. You are all too kind! It means a lot to me to know you'll still be here - and I hope you know the same is true of me even though I've been a total failure on the commenting front these past few months.

    Karen, my dissertation is about gender and attitudes towards reading. I want to look into whether or not teenagers perceive reading as "girly" and into the effect such a perception might have, as I suspect this might makes for a better explanation for the gender gap in reading than the currently dominant theories (that there are "too many women" in education, librarianship and publishing and too many books about feelings, which "boys hate" instead of spaceships and explosions, which they "all love").

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  8. Enjoy your time at home! I'm impressed that you've had any time to blog at all what with this being such a busy time academically. Looking forward to when you get back (but with no pressure, of course;P)

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  9. Hi! I am interested in the connection you (sort of) draw between professional fulfillment and blogging. I've been in a little bit of a blogging slump too, and I never thought of making the connection to my way-more-fulfilling-than-previously job -- I was putting it all down to the commute (which is definitely a small part of it, at least). Huh.

    Have fun at home!

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  10. We seem to be in the same position. I think I've announced my "return to blogging" three times in the past four months, and yet I still haven't gotten on top of things around the blogosphere! Eh, what can we do right? :)

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  11. I'll be quite interested to hear your thoughts on gender and reader when you have a chance to formulate them. It's an interesting topic to think about. Enjoy your full immersion in this thing we call *real life*! Trust me, we'll still be here ;)

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  12. Don't sweat it - as much as we miss you, we all understand that school has to come first.

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  13. Hey girl, I felt all bittersweet reading this. I'm so happy you're happy and having fun and feeling fulfilled and yet I def miss you. But my loss is your gain, so yay! :)

    Have a wonderful time at home and your research sounds so interesting and I hope you get a chance to share more of your discoveries and theories with us.

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  14. It is understandable that blogging has to take a back seat to other priorities right now. Don't worry about it. We will all be here to read your posts when you have time to write them. I've been bogged down with other stuff too...mostly work so I understand!

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  15. Glad you've been enjoying WotM (and that one about myths of gender looks interesting...) I too am trying hard to balance blogging and work, so I hope you can take some time to yourself!

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  16. You are awesome. I warmly welcome to compare your blogging slump to mine if that will give you any kind of a boost!

    There are some excellent looking books in that stack. Read on.

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  17. Well, as I already told you, I've missed you like crazy!!! (Of course that literally happens every time I don't get to talk to you for more than a day.) But in this case I've been missing you in a very happy state of mind, knowing that you've been having a lot of fun mixed in with your never-ending school work.

    I love that it sounds like you've really accepted that "balance" is somewhat of a myth. I'm trying to accept that too. But it sure isn't easy, is it?

    Love you, my sweet friend!!! And I hope you have a super fantastic trip!!!

    (Ummm...and I told Max you were going home...and well, if you get a chance, he's really hoping you can post or email him a picture of Pedrez. And give Pedrez a hug just from him.)

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  18. My blog has been out of commission too lately; I've thought about announcing a return but figure it's better just to sneak in a post when I can and get back to it gradually. You've got many fine excuses (for which they shouldn't be called an "excuse" at all- very good reasons!) and surely we will still all be here eager to hang on your words when you're back in full force.

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  19. I definitely understand what you're going through though I'm only a lowly undergrad. ;-) I'm glad that your research is about a topic that you love and you're passionate about otherwise. . . Happy reading and take care of yourself.

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  20. Sakura: Thank you :D

    Jenny: I was wondering if that connecting made sense to anyone other than me. Though now I kind of hope I'm wrong, because if this results in you no longer blogging I'll be very very sad :P

    Trisha: I'm becoming very good at adopting the what can we do attitude :P

    bibliophilac: I'd love to post about it sometime, but probably shouldn't until my dissertation is in in September. And thank you :D It's very good to know you're all still here.

    Kathy: I knew I could could on you all to be understanding and supportive :)

    Amy: I promise I won't be gone forever - I'd miss you all too much! And thank you so much for all the good wishes :D

    Kathleen: I've missed your posts too! So everything you told me goes for you as well!

    Katherine Langrish: I've had a look through Myths of Gender and it seems to be an older version of Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender, only with a focus on biology in general rather than mostly neuroscience. The only downside it's that it's from 1992, so it doesn't include the latest research. But it's still very readable and interesting!

    Trapunto: Thank you so much <3 No pressure or anything, but I hope your slump comes to an end one of these days. You are very much missed.

    Debi: I'm in the process of accepting it, but hey, it's a start, right? :P Tell Max not to worry - there will be pictures of Pedrez galore :D

    Jeane: I think I just might adopt the sneak in a post approach :P

    Vasilly: I hope I didn't sound like I was saying undergrads don't also work hard! And in your case in particular, I don't know how you do it all! You're a heroine and a constant inspiration :D

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  21. I hope you have a lovely time back home and enjoy the company of your cats and dogs... I miss mine terribly when I'm back in England.
    Don't worry about being absent from the blog... we'll all be here and you don't need to feel obligated; blogging should be fun and I'm sure we all understand as we all go through similar periods.
    Take care and enjoy your reading... some very interesting books there.

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  22. Enjoy your time at home with friends, family, and pets! Good luck with all your work. See you when you get back!

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  23. Hope you have a wonderful time at home, Ana! Hope your dissertation work goes smoothly. We will wait for your next post :) I will also have some time to catch up with your previous posts too :)

    I love the title of the book you are reading now - 'Bloody Foreigners' :) I can't wait to read your thoughts on it.

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  24. Have a lovely trip home :)

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  25. No need to apologise, Ana! :) Hope you've a safe trip home and that you've a wonderful time with your family and friends!

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  26. Have a good trip home, and hope you have enough time to really enjoy it. Awesome to hear you're enjoying your dissertation.

    The part about reading and blogging being a kind of academic research - I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel like that. I've actually been able to use the knowledge picked up in novels for my papers, which I thought would just be wishful thinking.

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  27. On the bright side, at least my research project means enough to me that I don’t ever resent it keeping me away from other things I’m passionate about.

    This is huge, and I think it's a big factor in determining who makes it through grad school and who doesn't.

    For the most part, blogging and grad school filled two very different roles in my life, although I see what you're saying about the similarity of intellectual engagement. I wonder if it's a science/humanities split - after my proposal, my research didn't involve a huge amount of reading (until I actually got around to writing my dissertation), so there wasn't that big of an overlap with my "for fun" activities.

    In any case, I'm glad school is going well for you, and we'll all be around whenever you decide to dive back into full-force blogging. :)

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  28. I certainly blog because of a lack of professional fulfillment! I'm glad your life gets in the way of your blogging sometimes, because it's even more interesting when you have a chance to jump back in.

    Although some of us (Tra, cough,punto,cough) could maybe, possibly try substituting a little more quantity for quality?

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  29. It's just fun to follow you whereever you go. :)

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  30. Have a wonderful time at home visiting with your family and friends. I totally understand finding it hard to balance blog and life. This year has seemed particularly difficult for me and luckily I know all bloggers we go through this and we understand. So enjoy your time and we'll be here when you get a chance to catch up with us :)

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  31. It really does get progressively harder to keep up with everything, doesn't it. I don't know if life in general is more hectic for everyone or if it is just the addition of all the internet-related things that can take up our time make it seem like we are more overwhelmed with things to do than we used to be. No matter what it is, it is hard to escape the fact that things are busy. I've cut more stuff out of my life over the past several months than ever before and yet feel more busy than ever before. I don't get it.

    Wonderful to hear that you are excited about the work you are doing for school. In the end it always involves a lot of hard work and sacrifice and that is so much more fulfilling when you are doing it for something that interests you and that you have a passion for.

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  32. I like your dissertation topic! I used to tutor high school kids in English? Boys did think reading was "girlie" and my (failing English) students didn't want to be seen as sissy by the other boys. However, behind closed doors they often really got into the reading experience, especially with Banjo Patterson's poems, which are blokey and have a great rythym when read aloud. I found some students became enthusiastic readers in private, but they still pretended to hate reading when they were with their mates. Peer pressure. :\

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  33. Good to "see" you, Ana! Definitely offer yourself the same patience that you know your audience has. I know we're all rooting for you as you work through your dissertation. It's a TON of work. Pat on the back for being able to read anything other than research sources. :D

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  34. Take all the time you need, I'm a grad student, I know what it's like.

    My problem is that I can't stand sitting down at the computer to write a review after I've spend most of my day at it writing papers, researching etc.

    Have a great time at home and don't stress yourself :)

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  35. Have a great trip home and enjoy! No need to apologize for not posting more (love the picture posts though!). I go through phases too. Can't be helped in life. For as much as I love to read and write, it doesn't always work with my life's schedule.

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  36. I know I haven't been commenting a whole lot but I have been thinking about you. I'm glad to hear you are doing well and loving your studies so much. I do agree that sometimes blogging can help to fill a void and that it's important to focus on balance in life (true of any thing).

    Hugs and happy wishes your way. :)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.