Tuesday, August 29, 2006

8.29.06, MS in a Bottle

One of the only rules of life that seemed to remain consistent for me, until about 5 months ago, and even then my diagnosis only confirmed it, was that life always throws you what you don't expect. A partial sports metaphor, I realize, but not meant to be . . . Now, too, I find another confirmation of it. Like most every academic I know I was always plagued by insecurity about "the book," especially the first book, and how crucial it is in terms of securing one's career and locking in tenure. The other items required for tenure, such as service, teaching, and non-book publications have all been easy enough so far; but the book psychology can be fierce and debilitating. After my diagnosis, all the worry about "Is it good enough?" has vanished.

A good sign, one could say. At the same time, one might say "an inconsequential" sign because the tenure game is no longer part of my individual scenario, simply no point in thinking about it any more. It makes sense then that I'd stop worrying about "the book." Still, I figure I'll send off the book, which is a real sleeper, to see what happens. If I can survive the waiting period while editors ignore my envelope, open it and slide it back into a massive pile of similarly boring projects "to do," and then procrastinate the actual evaluation process of determining whether they want to send off my MS for anonymous review by "experts" in my field. My field which has less than a handful of experts in it, if you specifically count it as being Korean poetry. (I guess this should be a fore-warning to at least one of the blog readers who will likely get a copy of what I send out, so one more thing that will show up on your plate.)

Now I yeild to the process, since the psychology of getting the manuscript just that much better and making my arguments that much more cogent and my writing that much clearer has been swept aside. The Thing will go off, this week I hope, and like Poe's MS in a bottle it's thrown into this sea of waiting, of expectancy, of not knowing. When it finally doesn't matter much what becomes of the project, that's the moment the project strangely moves itself back onto my plate. And since there is no longer such a complex in my head about the quality of the Thing, I let myself do it again. Life's weirdness, life's unexpectedness at every turn.

I was teased very recently, lovingly of course, about how I should spend my time worrying about "work" and sublimating my desires and pleasure in order "to get things done." None the less, I walk back into the realm of sublimation. Hm. It all sounds so much more mundane and trivial once it's put down in writing in front of me, but it's what life has for me right now. Perhaps it's part of a different psychology of distraction and part of some therapy by which I ignore the daily fact of disease, the constant progress of it all, and keep my eyes on something else. It is slightly more enjoyable than counting out pills and recording what I took at what time, how much, how many, what time, when again, and so on. During week two of this chemo cycle, before it's time to restage and see whether any of this treatment is even working, what else is there to do? I start to wonder why I'm even writing this here today. . . .

The day is young still but I'll put my Franky Scale at a 6 or 7. My GI system is not completely obedient but also not as rebellious as it could be. More to come perhaps, but for now I'm sublimating.

5 comments:

34DD said...

J-man,

Thinking about you a lot today as I sit here pondering my diffuser and return locations in the ceiling grid (perhaps even more boring then pill counting) You're always on my mind - hoping the GI unpleasantness works it self out - literally! oxoxox

Frarella said...

J-dawg!
Your blog today puts an interesting spin on the term "publish or perish." I've read a lot of your work and recently I goggled your name and found several papers and articles
on and by you and of course I have a copy of your dis. I'm sending out an S.O.S. I hope that someone gets your message in a bottle.

love you -fgc

Anonymous said...

TYPE. RETYPE. COMMENT. erase.
how about just, "HI. I want you to have better days than bad, but more importantly, many more days. I'll leave it at that.

david said...

l
l
Now I'm be waiting for that slice of pizza to show up in my mail! (And you should see the word verification da-da this time: wemen! Does that mean, we men? Or does it mean, womens? And is that an l at the end of it, so it's wemenl? we men'll what? or women? What'll they do? Holy Shnikey! this is deep!)

Slarry said...

Hey Mr. Jones:

Ditto to what Mr. Franky said. I too have googled you and have found several writings
written by you, ( and not just in Korean ) I was able to read them with
my one familiar language, English. Some philosophical theories and several poems.

Hey, can I have your blessing to act as one of your agents? You never know ...
I do know some people. Just call me “Johnny Lingo” you are worth far
more then a ten cow wife ( husband ). I’ll let you explain that one, dear brother.

And about that bottled tossed in earnest into the metaphorical water and sea ---
you never know who might be waiting to receive it. And if by chance your Manuscripts
or any of your writings end up in Salt Lake, remember, we have a great
Lake of Salt that would make your bottle more visible to the eye. It would be right on the surface
of the Salt, with less bobbling. Easily within reach.

You are still known here in the Land of Zion, as well as being loved and admired.
That is not pedestal thinking, just a fact, a reality.
If you don’t believe me, go and google
yourself and see how many “hits” you get, then goggle your somewhat chubby sister
and compare the difference between the two.

Scott = 1,406 Sheri = 0 zippo, the big bagel, the doughnut hole ( that term is in honor of my favorite sporting event going on right now, TENNIS at the US OPEN ) One of my wishes is to attend it one day.

Here is hoping that bottle returns to you more quickly, intact, while being given the appreciation and attention it is worthy and deserving of.

Love and cheers to you, for the completion of another of your many accomplishments. You are such a cool breeze. : )
I wish you less GI stress and smooth movements.

I’ll hook up with you soon ( I hope ) to discuss some travel plans
and give you an update on the house and heart.

You give new meaning to the words, “if I could save time in a bottle and make all my wishes come true ..... “ Jim Croce

As always, love from your admiring and grateful sister--

Sheri

PLEASE SAVE US FROM THE BUSH GUY and his entourage.