Day: October 24, 2020

Updates and NaBloPoMo

Anyone still around and reading? Pandemic plus a general dissolution of the once vibrant academic blogosphere (and its move to platforms like Twitter) equals fewer people reading and commenting, and consequently less of an impetus for me to keep blogging, especially since life stuff and fiction writing already vie for my time.

Anyway, as in (most? many? some?) years past, there will be daily blogging in November (NaBloPoMo — the blogging equivalent of NaNoWriMo). I think it’s good for me to have these intense blogging periods as a way to reconnect with this space, and hopefully good for you, dear reader, as there will more content. I can’t promise 100% highbrow fare, but something will be up every day in November.


I’m knee-deep in grading a midterm. I have a proposal due next week. Four papers need to be revised and resubmitted (after the proposal is in, duh).

This coming summer, I am looking forward to graduating probably the weakest student I’ve ever had. This students shouldn’t have gotten a PhD to begin with, but they managed to somehow pass one procedural hurdle, then another, and with a lot of help from others, and some strategically applied (and possibly not entirely conscious) manipulation and guilt-tripping of advisor , which I really shouldn’t have succumbed to but did, I continued to work with them even though several colleagues told me to cut the student loose. I tried all the tricks, changed their topic, then changed it back, tried being super hands off, then super hands on, but at the end of the day they were upbeat and enthusiastic but nothing was sticking, and they kept not being able to grapple with technical problems or do anything without a lot (A LOT) of help from me and others. All in all, we are now at a point where I can get them out with a minimal PhD that is well below the standard for my group, but passes the department, college, and university sufficiency tests. I suppose sooner or later we all (as advisors) have such a student.

My terrible professional mood these past couple of years has likely been linked to several bad hires I had made once three grants were funded in short succession. These new people were in stark contrast to the absolutely stellar crop I had graduated just before. For months, going into years, nothing was getting done. I started feeling hopeless, surrounded by all these nice and social but completely unproductive people spending all my money for naught, and panicking that this would be the end of my grants as we would not be able to renew. One way or another, those people are mostly no longer with the group. One has found their groove, and then some, and is being quite productive. I’ve since lucked out with a stellar student who transferred from another group, an absolutely fantastic undergrad, and another great new international student. The group is finally back to its usual output, and not a moment too soon, as two grants are up for renewal in the spring.


I have a bunch of stories coming out in late October and early November, and some exciting holds at prestigious markets. Fingers crossed!

It no longer feels impossible to write a novel. I (jokingly) promised my husband I’d write a bestseller, so we could retire early to someplace warm. No pressure! 🙂


What have you been up to, blogosphere?