Tag Archives: writing

Sabbatical Productivity: July

Yesterday was officially the last day of my sabbatical, although classes do not begin until 24 August. I kept a list in my journal of the academic activities I engaged in during my seven-month break. This practice was partly for myself, so that I could make sure I was using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in July, generally in chronological order. The list is shorter than in any previous month because I spent almost all of my working time on a new writing project, so I worked on a smaller variety of things. I feel that I accomplished a decent amount, though.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Sent the call for papers for an anthology of writing about Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-editing to potential contributors.

3. Had a Zoom meeting with a colleague at another institution about a bibliographing project.

4. Submitted senryu to several journals. I haven’t heard back from some of them yet because the reading period is still open, but Failed Haiku took three poems for their August issue, which is here (my poems are on page 129).

5. Finished the introduction of my new book project, which is about the importance of literature in these terrible times. I’ve been feeling hopeless a lot this month because of the political situation and the way many people in the U.S. are not taking the pandemic seriously. I can either write with the hope that things will get better and that my writing might help this healing in some small way, or I can give up and be part of the problem. So I choose to write.

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Sabbatical Productivity: June

I am on sabbatical until August and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in June, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in May here) because I focused mostly on reading for a new writing project that I am beginning this week.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Peer reviewed a book in one of my fields for a university press.

3. Updated my website.

4. Was elected to the Sexual Minorities Archives‘s Board of Directors and worked on various tasks for it throughout the month.

5. Revised and submitted an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

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Sabbatical Productivity: May

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in May, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in April here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Finished and submitted a book review of Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan.

2. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

3. Wrote a draft of an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

4. Agreed to peer review a book in one of my fields for a university press and received the manuscript.

5. Had a special session panel proposal for MLA 2021 on Dungeons & Dragons that I co-authored accepted.

6. Agreed to serve on the MLA’s Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada for a three-year term.

7. Began writing my portion of a Call for Papers for an essay anthology that a colleague and I are working on.

8. Emailed presenters from the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that was scheduled for October 2020 to let them know that it has been postponed to October 2021 due to the pandemic.

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Books Acquired Recently

Morris, Marla, Mary Aswell Doll, and William F. Pinar, eds. How We Work. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.

This is a collection of essays by writers in a number of different fields about their writing processes. One of my goals during my sabbatical has been to read a lot about writing in order to improve my own and to think about where I want my writing to go in the future. I saw a citation for this book and thought it would be helpful for this goal, and I found a new, inexpensive copy for sale, so I decided to buy it.

Pollack, Rachel. Fortune’s Lover: A Book of Tarot Poems. New York: A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2009.

Tarot has become a daily part of my life this year, and poetry is also a daily part of my life, so I was excited to hear about this collection that combines the two. I ordered it several months ago and was told it would be delayed due to the pandemic. It arrived today from Spain (which is where it was printed)! An enjoyable surprise.

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Sabbatical Productivity: April

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in April, generally in chronological order. I did less than in previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in March here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Worked on revisions to my website.

3. Got an update that an essay collection on Ana Castillo’s work that I have a piece in passed peer review and will be published next year.

4. Finished sending acceptance emails for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference scheduled to take place in October.

5. Submitted three senryu to a journal.

6. Finished and submitted a poem about the pandemic to a journal.

7. Finished a draft of an essay about Mennonite literature for an essay collection on present-day Anabaptist vitality. I had been working on it for a while before the pandemic and it was totally kicking my butt, so it felt like a huge triumph to be able to get back into my writing routine enough to be able to finish it this month. Most days I was only able to write a paragraph or two, but sometimes that is enough.

8. Finished a book that a journal has asked me to review and worked on notes for the review.

9. Wrote a blurb for a forthcoming book on Amish sexuality.

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Books Acquired Recently

Dentz, Shira. Sisyphusina. N.p.: PANK Books, 2019.

I am a fan of Dentz’s previous work, but hadn’t had a chance to buy her new poetry collection yet. A few weeks ago she and some other PANK authors gave a virtual reading, and I won a copy of her book for asking a question about it during the Q-and-A. It arrived a few days ago.

Miller, Brenda, and Suzanne Paola. Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2019.

I’ve begun to write some creative nonfiction lately and feel the need for more formal direction in the genre. I’ve heard good things about Miller and Paola’s book, so decided to buy it for some of this direction.

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Sabbatical Productivity: March

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in March, generally in chronological order. Although March’s list is the same length as February’s (you can read about what I accomplished in February here), I did less than the previous two months because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the current pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though, so I have high hopes for April even though, as T.S. Eliot writes, it “is the cruellest [sic] month.”

1. Along with a colleague, chose four panelists for an MLA special session proposal on Dungeons & Dragons. All four accepted the invitation to be part of the proposal.

2. Sent rejections to the rest of the people who submitted abstracts for the Dungeons & Dragons panel.

3. Revised the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies throughout the month. They are here, along with the blog that lists all of the individual revisions.

4. Worked on revisions to my current book project.

5. Submitted a book proposal to the ideal publisher for my book project.

6. Wrote and submitted an abstract for an MLA panel on Samuel R. Delany.

7. Wrote a few senryu.

8. Corresponded with the rest of the planning committee for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that is scheduled for October (fingers crossed!) about which abstracts to accept.

9. Wrote a template for the Mennonite/s Writing IX acceptance email and sent out acceptances to around forty submitters.

10. Submitted five senryu to the 2020 Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology and received notice about which one the editor accepted.

11. Along with a colleague, wrote and submitted the proposal for the Dungeons & Dragons panel.

12. Began writing a long poem about the pandemic.

13. Got asked to review a book of poetry by a journal.

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Sabbatical Productivity: February

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in February, generally in chronological order. You can read about what I accomplished in January here.

1. Worked on revisions of my current book project throughout the month, including incorporating feedback on an earlier draft that I received from a friend.

2. Finished a draft of a book proposal to begin sending out to publishers.

3. Attended a poetry reading by Wendy Chin-Tanner.

4. Attended the Mennonite Arts Festival in Cincinnati and networked with other Mennonite writers there.

5. Contacted a potential keynote speaker for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference in October 2020 in my role as a member of the organizing committee. She accepted the invitation.

6. Wrote and submitted an abstract for a panel at MLA 2021 on Queer Lists.

7. Responded to abstracts throughout the month that were submitted for the MLA 2021 panel on Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-organizing.

8. Revamped my website.

9. Built and launched a website for the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies that I curate, which is here.

10. Began work on an invited essay for a forthcoming collection about Anabaptist vitality in the twenty-first century.

11. Began work on another invited essay for a special issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology. (And yes, I am surprised that my new work is turning even more toward the theological, but my general practice when people invite me to write things is to say yes.)

12. Received an email from a journal asking me to submit the longer version of my MLA 2020 presentation to them. It is already under contract elsewhere (forthcoming later this year!), so I declined.

13. Received an email about another journal interested in reviewing Queering Mennonite Literature and in the possibility of me curating a special issue on queer literature and religion.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

McPhee, John. Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process. 2017. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.

I received a free copy of this book for filling out an online survey for the publisher. Hurray for free books!

Swarstad Johnson, Julie. Jumping the Pit. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2015.

I just recently read Swarstad Johnson’s full-length collection, Pennsylvania Furnace, and enjoyed it, so I decided to buy her first chapbook. She has another chapbook coming out later this year.

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Sabbatical Productivity: January

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself so that I make sure I am using the time productively and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in January (along with the end of December after the Fall semester ended), generally in chronological order.

1. Wrote and submitted an invited abstract for a possible issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology.

2. Accepted an invitation to write an essay for a collection about new “Anabaptist Visions” and sent the editor a rough proposal for the essay’s topic.

3. Wrote and submitted an abstract for the 2020 Mennonite/s Writing conference.

4. Wrote a rough draft of a panel proposal (link here, and see number 14) for the 2021 MLA convention on Dungeons & Dragons.

5. Typed up the senryu I wrote between mid-October and the beginning of January.

6. Worked on revising my current book project (this continued throughout the month).

7. Asked two friends to read a draft of the book project and they both accepted.

8. Attended and presented at the 2020 MLA convention and got helpful feedback on my presentation.

9. Evaluated abstracts for the 2020 Mennonite/s Writing conference and worked with another member of the organizing committee on a draft conference program. Read a few late abstracts throughout the month.

10. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing in the U.S. Bibliography.

11. Compiled a list of authors who have published books with Pinchpenny Press (including myself!) who are currently involved in the Mennonite literary scene for the upcoming Pinchpenny anniversary celebration.

12. Emailed a fellow Mennonite literary critic working on a paper about David Bergen, who I have written about (see section 3).

13. Began prepping a new course for the Fall 2020 semester, Latinx Literature.

14. Talked with a colleague about co-facilitating the 2021 MLA convention panel on Dungeons & Dragons mentioned in number 4, agreed to do so, and submitted the Call for Papers.

15. Looked at other 2021 MLA CFPs and made notes on which panels I might want to submit abstracts to.

 

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