The Forest of Deadlines

I’m in the forest of deadlines. Not lost in it, because I have specific markers, specific tasks I need to accomplish that will lead me out of the forest. But I will be in the forest at least until the academic year ends. Here’s what that forest has looked like this month, and will look like for the rest of the year:

March 1: Revised second chapter of my dissertation due. This was the central, most important chapter, and I turned it in on time.

March 1: Folkroots column due. I had to ask for an extension on this, but with the extension and some revisions after that, I think the column turned out very well. It’s called “Fairies and Fairylands,” and it’s going to be in the June issue.

March 15: Story due. I’m not going to talk about this yet, but I’m really enjoying working on it.

April 1: Revised third chapter of my dissertation due. Once this chapter is revised, I will have a revised version of the entire dissertation.

April 15: Story due. Again, I’m not going to talk about this yet, except to say that it’s a companion piece to the story due on March 15th.

May 1: Revised first chapter of my dissertation due. Actually, I’ve already revised the first chapter, so I think this is when I’ll turn in the entire dissertation, revised. The whole thing all together. Right around this time, a few days before I believe, I have another Folkroots deadline. I think I know what I’m going to write about – and I think you’re going to like it! But I’m not telling just yet.

And that’s as far as I’m thinking, right now. But you can see, can’t you, what a forest it is? Although I love everything I’m doing – even the dissertation, mostly.

I’m writing all this to let you know how busy the rest of the academic year is going to be for me, because times like this make me curl into my shell somewhat, snail-like. It’s my natural introversion. What it means, practically, is that my posts here will probably be less general, more personal, reflecting the fact that I’m looking inward. Although honestly, I’m not sure how much of a difference you’ll see, since my idea of personal is to write about the sort of prose I love, that sort of thing.

It’s been such a strange year, and by year I always mean academic year, since for an academic a year is always September to August. Probably one of the most complicated and intense years of my life. But it’s taught me so much about who I am and what I want in that life (beach houses in North Carolina, for instance – and writing novels). It’s not over yet, and I think at the end of it, I will be a different person than I was at the beginning. But that’s a good thing. That means I’m living and changing, finding what I want to do in the world – as I ought to be.

But the introverted stage won’t last forever, only as long as the work is so intense. And after it’s done, there are all sorts of things I want to do that don’t involve sitting and going inside myself, which is what I’m doing now. I’ll give you an example. This is a trailer for Catherynne M. Valente’s new novel Deathless. I think it’s gorgeously done.

There are so many tools available to us now as writers. I want to make audio and video, perhaps in collaboration with others, related to my writing but also in addition to and complementing it. Modern technology allows me, simply sitting at my computer, to do so much. Why not take advantage of it? My first idea is a YouTube version of “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter.”

But that will come later. Right now, I’m in the forest of deadlines and I have to get through this year – or at least get through to the summer, when things will be easier. But I’ll make it. I always have before.

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10 Responses to The Forest of Deadlines

  1. Mark says:

    Good luck with the deadlines. Can’t wait to hear more about the companion piece stories!

  2. Thanks, Mark! I’ll post more about them as soon as I’m able and allowed. 🙂

  3. Douglas Cohen says:

    It’s probably because you have a million things on your mind at the moment, but your fairies article for Folkroots is actually appearing in the June issue. Your vampire piece is appearing in the April dark fantasy issue (which is close to publication). Sorry to be adding to your deadlines on such a consistent basis, but hey, at least you’re enjoying the work!

  4. Doug: You know, I knew that. I did. It’s just my brain going wonky! 🙂 I corrected it above, and thanks so much for pointing it out! The “Fairies and Fairylands” article will be in the June issue. And that’s quite all right, Folkroots is my favorite deadline! I’m having such a great time with these articles, and I hope that everyone else is enjoying reading them as much as I’m enjoying writing them.

  5. Grey Walker says:

    Hopefully you’ll find a burbling stream and a grassy clearing or two as you make your way through the forest…

  6. Thank you! And what nice imagery! Coincidentally or not, I wrote a forest scene last night . . . A forest in Cornwall where something important happens (but I can’t say what). 🙂

  7. Jeff P. says:

    I’m sorry to hear it’s tiring and stressful, but I do envy you all the writing you’re doing. Keep going!

  8. Keith Glaeske says:

    I for one would ❤ to view a YouTube version of "The Mad Scientist's Daughter." (And read a graphic novel starring Writer Girl!)

    By the way, congratulations on revising your dissertation! Dare I ask if you are nearing the end of your degree?

  9. Thanks, Jeff! I’ll do my best . . . 🙂

    Keith, it should be completely put together by the end of this semester, and then defended first thing in the fall. I’m really looking forward to having it done, because among other things it will give me the time and peace of mind to go on to other projects. Long, serious projects like novels that I just haven’t been able to tackle yet.

  10. Keith Glaeske says:

    That’s great news! Excelsior!

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