Successfully defended my dissertation Friday morning (30 November) in Southern California. A little less than 12 hours later, I’m home in Oregon. A little less than 24 hours before, I’d arrived in a rainstorm in the desert and now I’ve come home to one in the woods.

Dr. Tamara is going to take some getting used to.

December 1, 2018

The dissertation is turned in. The defense is scheduled for the end of the month, and I’ve arranged the plane tickets for the trip down to campus. Everything has both sped up and slowed down. I moved last week, and three-quarters of the house is filled with boxes to waist height. So many things are changing. These are good changes all, and mostly a very long time in coming. I have spent so long waiting, and hoping, that I don’t quite know how to respond to being at the end of the waiting.

I hope to enjoy learning how to do that.

November 10, 2018

My dissertation deadline was extended. This means I have two weeks to make the requested corrections and finish up the one chapter that’s been giving me grief. I’m relieved, because I’d really wanted things not to be any more rushed than necessary. As my advisor said, you only get to do this once in your lifetime.

It seems unreal that I’m almost done.

October 3, 2018

For the Romans,’ it didn’t matter much whether the lions were eating a robber or a bishop, and it probably didn’t make much of a difference to the lions, but the robber’s friends and the bishop’s friends told different stories about those leonine meals. It is in these stories that martyrdom, as opposed to execution or dinner, can be found, not in what happened.’” (Boyarin, Dying for God, p. 21).

September 16, 2018

I’ve been through twelve centuries of history and at least six languages of material over the last 48 hours. Is it possible to get intellectual whiplash?

Ever closer to the completion of this dissertation. I may not have any brain cells left when I’m done…but at least I’ll be done.

August 28, 2018

Made it through mid-July and the beginning of August, the roughest weeks of every year for me, for a few years running now. The UCLA conference over my birthay went very well, I think. A liaison for the Coptic Pope told me he wants to show the paper I presented to His Holiness the next time they get together, and I’ve already been approached (twice!) about publication. Since that paper is a significant portion of chapter 9 of my dissertation, polishing it won’t be a distraction from the Looming Deadline of September 30.

It’s great when things work out and you aren’t making extra work for yourself.

Speaking of extra work: completing two books this week, one for a client (I did the layout/design), and the second for myself. I wanted both out before August 1 but fell a few hours short. Hoping to have them completed (sent a final proof to my client today in the case of the first book) and in printer hands by the end of the week.

Once my book is in the printing pipeline I need to revise my presale website and gear up for distribution. The one part of being responsible for an entire book process that gets frustrating for me is distribution; invariably books are lost, databases are read wrong, customers fall through the cracks and someone doesn’t get a book. From my end it’s mostly looking at pages and pages of statistics and not personal, but I must always remember that from their end it’s VERY personal. Each person who purchases a book from me is supporting my craft, and they did not get the book they supported - that’s a serious problem and has to be fixed as quickly as possible. Doing my best to make sure I come through for every reader so they are still willing to support me when the next project comes along. I’m so grateful for everyone who supports my work, and hope they realize that, even when we have a spreadsheet SNAFU and books end up in Albania rather than Connecticut.

We get it fixed eventually. Everything, eventually, sorts itself out. The trick is to sort it before it sorts you.

Back to the InDesign grind for a while. I can lose myself in typefaces and pica lines, but eventually even I have to come up for air and food and rest.

August 9, 2018

A few minutes before midnight on July 19, I started year 49 of my sojourn on this side of the sunrise. I probably would’ve blogged then - I’ve been trying to start each year doing the thing I want to be doing for the rest of the year as a sort of magical intention - but instead I was going over my lecture for the morning and then getting ready to sleep.

Working on my writing and academic speaking followed by rest? Not a bad plan. Let’s see if I can keep it up through dissertation deadline (now 30 September) and everything else going down.

I’m hopeful for year 49. Parts of 48 will not be missed, but for the most part it was a good year to set up with payoffs in year 49. Here’s hoping they all come through in the best ways.

July 23, 2018

Data is the sword of the twenty-first century, those who wield it well, the samurai.” Jonathan Rosenberg, former Googler

This is the story of someone learning to wield data, and not just the electronic kind. Follow at your own risk. This microblog will be eclectic, ephemeral, and possibly confusing. It will also, however, be a snapshot into what life is like inside my mind.

July 8, 2018

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