Thursday, July 30, 2009

Revision Rage

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?


lisa b said...

Same as the antidote for many of life's ills: chocolate.

Yoga would probably be a healthier way to cope, but chocolate seems to be the easiest soother of rage. :-)

Sarah said...

I hear there's this blog that was essentially born out of Revision Rage. I think it's called Flour on the Floor:-) I recommend bread--you get to punch it and push it around. And then you get carbs for sustained energy. But I also agree with the above comment: chocolate is the Chanel suit of antidotes.

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

Getting it done and sending it off. Then you can go and do whatever you want.