October 3, 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.

September 16, 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).

August 28, 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 9, 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.

July 23, 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 12, 2018

If you want to see what I’m doing on any given day online, @tamarasiuda at Twitter is likely your best bet. If I am on social media that’s where I will go first, as I tend to use Twitter to catch up on breaking news and friends and family during writing breaks. I have a Facebook, under the same name, but I do not use it nearly as often. If you want specific access to me that’s deeper than here or Twitter, patreon.com/tsiuda is where that’s at. Not all of that is free - but until my dissertation is completed and I can land full-time employment again to pay the bills? I’m not free either, alas.