Book reviews! Last month I had one published in the fall issue of Texas Books in Review as well as in The Rumpus (the latter of which is viewable online here). Yesterday, for the first time, I received a review copy of a book in the mail directly from a publisher, and that was a good feeling. Very exciting. Brings me back to a topic I keep going on and on about in this blog – merging what you want to do with what you need to do for a career. Of course, I’m not getting paid for my reviews (except in books!) yet, but given that I read a lot and like to write brief reviews for Goodreads and friends anyway, writing a full formal review is only a tiny step beyond what I would be doing regardless. For me, this makes it an obvious choice for what to do with my extra time.
What has been a less than obvious choice is this year’s set of conferences. I’m definitely attending and presenting at the Rhetoric Society of America‘s conference. It’s a national conference and the piece I had accepted is one I really like (David Foster Wallace and Kenneth Burke comparison), and it’s one I think will be publishable down the road. The conference is in San Antonio, which means low cost to me since it’s not far away. And, I’ve been accepted to participate in their Research Network program, where they group a few of us novices with an experienced mentor (Dr. Michelle Ballif, in my case) for a paper workshopping. It’s after I graduate so it’ll be out of pocket, but it’s a no-brainer. Now, I’m also planning on attending the International Society of Narrative conference and presenting part of my thesis there. It’s in Boston, which means it’ll be a reasonably high cost, but for that one grad school will cover all of it. Then there’s two regional conferences – one in Albuquerque, one in Houston. Both will have relatively low cost, but it’s still a cost that I have to consider. I have to think about what I’m achieving by presenting (a line on the CV plus a very small chance [I am not a charismatic person with people I don’t know] at possible networking or revision ideas for paper) and how much I’m paying for that achievement. It’s hard to know when it’s not worth it. How much are each of those CV lines worth when it comes time to apply for adjunct or community college positions? Impossible to say. I’ll do at least three this year, maybe four, and review the results next year, I suppose.
Last year I made a policy that I wouldn’t submit any proposals for papers I hadn’t written yet, and that I wouldn’t be on any panels without a strong leader (professor), thinking that would limit my choices and make it easy. It did not.
In unrelated news, I’m planning on doing quite a bit of work over the break beyond reading. I have a map of the real-life equivalents to locations within the video game Kentucky Route Zero. Mostly just doing that for fun – while I have some work on the game being considered for a publication and for a conference, this exercise is more of an excuse to drive around aimlessly and take pictures. I also have a list of some graveyards to take pictures of for my genealogy work. Again, more for fun than for work.
What are you reading? What are you writing? Speaking of Kentucky Route Zero, a new piece of its incomplete puzzle was just recently released. I haven’t checked it out yet, but based on this review – “The Entertainment, a southern gothic high school play for the Oculus Rift, seriously. It’s ostensively written in 1973 by Lem Doolittle, a clearly fictitious playwright, although you can purchase the transcript by way of Lulu for $4.50.”
Finally, since my next book to review is a translation, I will share with you this funny Wikipedia article about translating Harry Potter. In French, Voldemort’s middle name is Elvis.