Popping my head out of the hole for just a minute

Greetings All! Yes, I am just popping my head out of my little hole to let you know that I am okay, have Happy Pills and my friend Ariel keeps feeding me vegetables, and work on my Magnificent Octopus, aka The Thesis, is slowly, but surely progressing, when I have a chance to work on it! I have to say that I have been inspired to pop my head out of the hole by Cathrin, a reader from England according to WordPress, who not only stumbled across my humble blog and had a little read, but took the time to leave a couple of lovely comments and subscribe to it! It cheered me immensely to find notifications from Word Press in my Inbox this morning. Thanks Cathrin!

And I do have a couple of fabulous things to report, notably that my first published paper will be out soon and that I LOVE the cover! (Yes, the gorgeousness of the cover is important!)

The cover of the tome in which my first published work appears! Published by Ashgate and out September 2011

It will look very nice displayed on my bookshelf propped on the little display stand I have purchased for it. I think I mentioned in a post before I had my hissy fit and signed off “for now” that my first published article will be out soon? Well, soon is next month!! So exciting! As is typical with academic publications, the tome is quite pricey so I do not expect you to purchase the book, although you would get some enjoyment from it, especially the paper about codpieces and potbellies, which I did not write, contrary to popular misconception arising from mistaken readings of the contents. My paper is the boringly titled one on Jean Martin. 😉 There is reasoning behind the boring title and it has something to do with being easily found by other academics during their random keyword searches on Google. My supervisor convinced me this would be the way to go. I suppose I will just have to save the “interesting” and “amusing” title for the first novel.

If I can figure out how to do it, I will attempt to add a ‘freshly scanned from the official publication’ version of my paper here at some point for your edification. Those of you with masochistic tendencies might love to torture yourself by reading it! I kid you. It’s not bad for my first published effort. I am guessing my supervisor would not have included it in the tome just to be nice if it wasn’t up to scratch. Although, she does know my proclivity for hissy fitting and buggering off to London, so there may be some generosity of spirit for the Sad Sack, aka Me, going on. Keeping me pacified so I will stay in Perth and get my thesis finished? Oh well! Who cares! I have something published, finally! (And it’s an academic publication so it makes me look so intellectual and clever.)

More exciting news! I have just had the contract through for a SECOND published paper. Another Ashgate publication due out sometime next year. I am sure I will have some rewriting on that paper to do before long. The editor is working through them all now. That is one of the tedious things about writing for publication – rewrites! I am so over it by the time I have drafted something I think is okay and I really do not want to see it again. I do not feel very kindly toward monsieur Jean Martin, the subject of my first published paper. I am sure the Duke and Duchess of Nevers will be making my ‘Hope I’ve Seen the Back of You’ list before the year is out! I suppose it’s too much to hope that my paper will be perfect as is and requires only minor tweaks? Oh, and another annoying thing about the publishing word – turning my words American! I not happy having my ‘realise’ turned into ‘realize’ and my ‘colour’ turned into ‘color’ and commas being placed in ‘list’ sentences. No, no, no! When I was doing the final edit of my Jean Martin paper, I had to restrain myself from changing all the z’s back to s’s. I am not against language evolving, but there are limits! I should also point out I have nothing against the letter ‘z’ either. It is a very lovely letter, especially when playing Scrabble or Words with Friends and you manage to place it on a triple-letter or triple-word score spot! (If you also have Words with Friends and want someone to play with, I am lke73. Find me! I am addicted and would love more people to play with!)

I had another review published earlier this year and was so surprised when the subject/co-author of the book sought me out via my supervisor to tell me how much she enjoyed and appreciated my review. WOW! And then a double-WOW because the person in question is the fabulously famous early modern historian, Natalie Zemon Davis! Needless to say, I was just a little surprised, chuffed and pleased. Natalie Zemon Davis is a bit of a hero to most early modern historians, especially us Girl Historians! She writes history that is informative and fun, which is so important because as good as the works of G.R. Elton and co. are, they don’t always inspire the passion in potential historians. I don’t know if this is going to work, but I shall attempt to post the review here if you fancy some light reading to lull you to Snooze Land, or possibly inspire you to get hold of some Natalie Zemon Davis works! NZD Review Parergon v28 n1

Well, I suppose I should pop my head back in the hole now and get on with chapter 8. There are eight chapters in my thesis, in addition to the introduction and conclusion. By saying I must get on with chapter 8 would get you thinking that I have managed to almost get the entire Magnificent Octopus drafted. Alas, this is not the case. I skipped chapters 5 and 6 because I couldn’t figure out how to go about them. So after chapter 8, I shall return to chapter 5, then chapter 6. With any luck, the entire Magnificent Octopus should be drafted by November. No! It will be entirely drafted by November!

I have to say that writing a thesis is a laborious and frustrating task. I was explaining to someone the other day how I felt I kept “writing myself into a brick wall” and I realised yesterday that what this actually meant was I keep writing myself into an awareness of gaps in my knowledge. Or is it? I have been researching this thesis since February 2006, so there are lots of thoughts and facts (?) floating around in my little grey cells. I sometimes wonder if I have imagined something I have read and am just making it up. It doesn’t help that no matter how much I scour over my notes, I cannot seem to find the ‘fact’ I am looking for. And this is not because I am a bad note taker or record keeper. My supervisor has always said that the organisation of my research would make me an invaluable research assistant and my aunt’s hubby commented on the anal-retentiveness of my filing system on my computer. Folders within folders there may be, but all is logical to me!

Oh, and writing something without inserting my [lame?] jokes and Lisa-isms! Very demotivating! What is the point of writing something that isn’t, or hopes to be, amusing? No point! Mind you, there are amusing things taking place in the hospital accounts, so I try to get as many of those in thesis as possible. Which reminds me of one of those elusive or fictional ‘facts’ that is driving me nuts at the moment. I am sure I came across a payment made to a ferryman to collect the sheets floating in the Seine River, (yes, the one in Paris), which flooded and carried out the sheets from the laundry of the Hôtel-Dieu, but do you think I can find it again! Frustrating!

The nuns of the Paris Hôtel-Dieu doing laundry

Did I not say something about getting my head back in the hole and on with chapter 8? Yes, I had better do that. Queen Procrastinator must be stifled as much as possible. It is bad enough that she wastes her time playing Words with Friends on her iPad 2, which she loves very much, without getting sucked back into the blogging world again! I will pop my head out again though. I will not wait until I get back to a life in London because, at this stage, that is still a year off. What a horrible thought! But then, this time last year I was thinking it was only a year until I would be finished with the thesis and back in London, (Plan A did not work out, obviously), and that seems like only yesterday sometimes. (Other times it seems an eternity ago, but that’s life in Perth for you!) I should point out that Plan B, C and D have also not worked out. We are currently on Plan E and I am determined to make this one happen!! September 2012 – LONDON HERE I COME!!!

One of the good things about being stuck in Perth 18 months longer than I have planned, no, 24 months longer than planned, is that I will have the chance to drive around in my Little White Holden Nova a bit more.

My Lovely Little White Holden Nova

Dad bought the car for me to use last April and we have been chugging up and down Greenmount Hill together quite happily, albeit very cautiously, for if you remember, other drivers seem determined to drive me off the road. I have also become a fan of the audiobook. Not only can I enjoy driving along in my Little White Holden Nova, my iPod can be connected to my radio and instead of listening to the awful music and mean comments of radio DJs, I can listen to Stephen Fry read me one of his books or Harry Potter, or Hugh Laurie read to me about the trials and tribulations of the academic life of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, or Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, aka The Two Ronnies, perform their best skits, or my latest favourite discovery, which I owe to my obsession with the aforementioned Stephen Fry, BBC Radio’s ‘Just A Minute‘, which has recently been released on iTunes, and where I spend a good proportion of my fortnightly wages. I am sure my fellow drivers must get a little concerned when turning their head while waiting at the traffic lights to see a girl in a Little White Holden Nova throwing her head back and laughing it off. Do not worry my Fellow Drivers. I am merely listening to ‘Just A Minute’, which is hilarious and uproarious laughter is inevitable and cannot be suppressed.

Didn’t I mention something about chapter 8? I hope my supervisor doesn’t visit my blog! If she does… Sue, I am getting on with chapter 8, I promise!