January was a good month, research-wise: I had a lot of things planned, but I was able to do some of that in December, and had a lot of energy to work on the other projects in January.
What I worked on:
- Submitted an article on Ian McEwan and ecology – I struggled with finding the focus for this article quite a bit. While I’m happy with the article I ended up submitting, it will need more work. As the editor of the volume pointed out, it’s quite a bit under the maximum word limit. I knew that when I submitted it, but didn’t want to negatively affect the unity of the piece. Having said that, I agreed with the editor that he’d make some suggestions for expanding it, and I’ll be thinking about that too. I still feel nervous about it, so fingers crossed.
- The other big thing I worked on this month was a fellowship application. I applied for a three-month writing grant at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich. I want to use it to really make some headway on my new project on flood fictions (more on that next month). I’ve been doing some papers on this, and a book chapter, but this year I want to write and submit two further articles and submit a book proposal for this project.
- Halfway through the month I got the editors’ comments back on the chapter I wrote for Jim Crace: Into the Wilderness. In the chapter I apply some ecocritical approaches to Crace’s early novels The Gift of Stones, Signals of Distress and Being Dead. The editors only had a few comments, so I was able to turn around this revision fairly quickly and return the chapter by the end of the month.
The final week of January was the exam week at my institution. I worked ahead a bit and ended up with an entire week in which I was able to devote pretty much all my time to research. I managed to have practically no appointments that week, save for two on Tuesday afternoon. I checked my work email daily, and did some small chores that came out of that, but that didn’t take more than 45 minutes a day.
I feel really pleased that I was able to take this time: it felt like a complete luxury. I even had time to take things a little slow before the busy start of the new semester. I was so pleased with this week that I’m planning two further weeks in the middle (resit-week) and end of the new semester as well.
What I’m working on:
- This month’s big project is a chapter revision for a book on literature & philosophy, due at the end of the month. The chapter is on the ethical issues raised by 21st-century British flood fictions. Back in November I received the editors’ comments, which were very supportive. The main point of criticism was that I had not included enough philosophy – I hadn’t interpreted the premise correctly. The editors gave me some useful suggestions and I did some more research to fix that. I think that I’ve found some good perspectives to incorporate. I begun revising a few days ago and so far I feel good about how the chapter is coming along. I actually quite like revising – I like the craftmanship of it, chipping away, polishing and making it better.
What I’m thinking about:
- I am itching to make a start on the first of two peer-reviewed journal articles to my flood project that I want to submit this year. The first article will define the genre of flood fictions. I won’t properly start on this until March, but I’m very excited.
Waiting to hear back on:
- I submitted two conference abstracts in December. I got a positive response for the Sarah Hall conference in May (Leuven), and am waiting to hear back from the Marine Transgressions conference.
- I expect to hear back from two editors this month, or early next month: on the McEwan chapter, and on a chapter on climate fiction for a book on ecocriticism and narrative theory.
- In early March I’ll hear back on my application to serve as associate editor at ISLE. This sounds like an interesting position to me and fits in well with my aim to work on strengthening my academic community.