In October, I'll be presenting at the annual general meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. The JASNA AGMs are always wonderful--interesting presentations and prestigious plenary speakers in great locations. I've attended AGMs in Seattle, Toronto, and Tucson. This year it's in Philadelphia, and I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, all the historic sights.
This year's theme is "Jane Austen's Brothers and Sisters." JASNA requires proposals to be sent in a year in advance, and, as luck would have it, I'd already planned for one of my dissertation chapters to be about the role of physical beauty within families, so I sent in my proposal hoping I'd get some mileage out of something I had to write anyway.
My proposal, "'Not half so handsome as Jane'; Sisters, Brothers, and Beauty in Austen's Novels," was accepted, and unlike many conferences, I'm actually alloted about forty minutes speaking time (with ten or fifteen left for questions and discussion), so I'll have time to present almost the whole essay and then be able to discuss it with other Austen scholars. Believe me, this can spoil you.
But right now I'm just plain aggravated. Why? Although I have plenty of time to present, if I want to submit my essay for possible publication in Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal (which, of course, I do), I have to shorten my essay to 4000 words. Aaaarrrrgggghhh. I struggle to carefully construct an argument, and then I have to butcher it. I've done this before, and it hasn't gotten any easier. I think it's harder to cut huge chunks out of a finished essay than it is to write it in the first place. Aggravation is giving way to frustration.
What's the antidote for Revision Rage?