January 26th, 2016

(no subject)

It's Australia Day or Survival Day or the Day of Many Names and Much Guilt. I was going to go the National Museum and spend a few hours considering all this, but my friends are busy, the weather is unreliable, the buses are on a Sunday timetable, so I'm pretty much stuck at home. I'm in a lot less pain than during this last week, but it's not little enough to tempt fate by walking to the more-distant bus stop (the one with more regular buses) when it may rain on me later. I used not be worried about these things, because I used to not have to deal with these things. I used to be someone who walked five miles and danced for three hours, all in a day's activity. Life changes.

One thing I'm supremely glad about is that the back pain doesn't affect my teaching or my writing. The ever-incoming thunderstorms mean that proofreading is slow, but I'm almost finished that, in plenty of time. I just have to get the document containing my changes into the correct format for my publisher Normally I do this before I begin, but in this case the particular publisher sent me three different documents containing separated pieces of advice and there's one I didn't realise contained the critical instructions until too late.

Since I need cheering up because of some of last week (and because I really, really wanted to get to the Museum between 10 and 2 - there are interesting things happening) I decided to do a tally of what I've done so far in 2016. There's a reason for this tally. A group of local writers have (unintentionally - mainly by neglect) cause me to feel incompetent. I've decided life's too short to feel incompetent if one is not actually incompetent.

By this you know that, despite seeing friends over my long weekend, I'm very grumpy. Someone stomped on me and I do not like it.

So.. the question of my competence...

I put my list of things to do in January up early (I write my monthly plans on big paper and it goes on the back of my door), because it was going to be a big month. I've got through all the 17th century primary sources except for five (hundreds of documents, done - yay!) and I've worked through the start (first 30) of my secondary sources. My feel for the 17th century is coming along apace. I've done all but 2 days of the admin, which includes applying for the very few jobs that are out there. I want full-time employment so very much - this is one of several reasons I'm grumpy. Most people didn't follow up on my admin stuff, even though I did it all in time and to form. I've chased all these down now, and know what's happening, more or less. The worst of these were some teaching things and a job I was interviewed for last year. I finally found out about the latter (I missed it, but not through anything I did - they had several perfect candidates) and I now have extra paperwork to do for the former, because of time slippage. That will be done this week. Day after tomorrow is my admin day, when I catch up on all these things.

I've almost done with the proofreading for the monograph, and I've got my complete list of key words for the index. This means three very slow days while I complete all this. The book will be done by the end of the week. And, all going well, the edits for my next novel will also be done by then, or by the end of the first week of term if they go slightly less well.

I've written an article or three, started drafting a fourth and fifth, and done the edits for three more. One of these is for a journal I've wanted to appear in for years, so I'm very happy about that one.

I've read about a dozen books for fun and sorted out that most children's and YA fiction in Australia that has Jewish protagonists is either Shoah-related or about ultra-Orthodox Jews (this hunt was inspired by a question on FB by fjm). According to my calculations, work with semi-realistic Jewish characters is thin on the ground and work that contains Jews who come from a more normative background is less than 10% of that. If anyone wanted to publish a YA book with a Jewish teen who goes to a state school, keeps (mostly) kosher and doesn't want a closeted or gated future I think I would be willing to write one. Secret Jewish Women's Business is coming out soon (soon! it's the novel currently being edited by its editor, and then I get to review those edits) and it helped get me the understanding of how a book like this can be written. And... I think I'd make it fantasy. And I would have to consult with N, because she's at school right now and could update me on the nature of school right now and on being a minority at school right now. (I know a bunch of teachers, but they would give entirely the wrong viewpoint. Also, one of the most "I am good with minorities" bigots I know is a teacher, oddly enough. I hate to think of what messages they deliver in class.) And by this you know that the limited range of Australian books with Jewish characters really worries me, especially in this difficult decade.

I've done other stuff, but I can't remember! This would be because I keep dwelling on being 10,000 words behind on the novel that's not contracted, that I didn't intend to write... and that for months I've been ready for a writing retreat with other writers (even a simple day of one) but there is none. I'm not alone, but my writing is. That would be one major reason why I feel incompetent. This will improve when teaching starts, for I'll get to see my students every week. I'm a family person who (by happenstance) has ended up living alone. It always shows at this time of year.

I still don't know if I'm competent. But I've read more books in a month than I read in a bad year, and I've written many words and edited and proofed many more words. I'm very efficient, at the least.