Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Location: United States

Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Declaring a blogging sabbatical

So, uhm, yeah. Hi. It's been a while.

Most everybody's probably pretty much given up on me, but for those few who might still be hoping for a dispatch, here's a little something. I'm not sure it'll be all that gratifying, though, because I'm mostly writing this entry to let y'all know that the blogging's going to continue to be light here for the foreseeable future.

As I've noted more than once before, one of my reasons for starting this blog was to make the life of at least one graduate student somewhat more transparent to the world at large: to give more people a better sense of what she might do with her time, the challenges she might face, what it's like to be an academic grunt, and why she'd make such an odd choice in the first place. To some extent, then, it's a response to the bewildered looks and eyebrow-raisings most grad students are used to.

Another reason, of course, was to connect with people outside my usual social orbit. While I've no idea whether I really succeeded in helping people understand graduate students, there's no doubt that Ye Olde Blogge has helped me meet and talk to some marvelous people--occasionally even in meatspace.

Thing is, in both cases, a certain degree of intellectual and emotional honesty is required. In order to make that possible and still have some hope of making a career for myself in academia, I've constructed an anonymous identity that bears at least some resemblance to my own. But that's required me to remain silent on any number of issues, including the details of my own work as I move into the latter stages of my graduate career.

When I started blogging more than five years ago, it was still an odd little hobby. It's hard to deny, now, that it's become something much more like an industry--and that development makes blogs feel somewhat less casual and unofficial than they once did. So the somewhat more public profile of even dinky little blogs like mine, combined with the increasingly personal nature of my work, has started to make it much harder for me to find things I'm comfortable blogging about. Not discussing the very individual process of facing the demons that dissertations summon, the development of my ideas about my project, and the ways in which I'm working to become the person who can complete it without losing her mind or her credit rating has become a bigger problem as those issues have loomed larger in my life.

For the last few months, I've felt increasingly muzzled here, particularly since I'm having to make a number of very personal decisions all at once, but can't find a way to write about them honestly in this forum. I'm also well aware that wearing my heart on my sleeve--much like mixed metaphors--can really come back to bite me in the ass.

Now, I generally don't mind making myself a bit vulnerable. In fact, if anything, I tend to err on the side of making myself overly vulnerable. That's not necessarily a disaster in the making if I'm tough enough to handle it, but I'm not feeling quite that strong just now. As a result, I'm having to take a lot of the stuff I'd normally write about here underground--at least for the time being. I'm also having to reserve more time and energy for other kinds of work. The upshot of all this is that I'm expecting things to stay pretty quiet over here for some months, at least.

I imagine I'll still be lurking around in the blogosphere, making a nuisance of myself, and most of y'all know how to get hold of me if you're interested. If you do want to contact me and aren't quite sure what would be best, just leave a comment to that effect and we'll figure something out.