Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Bad News/Good News Scenario

Bad news: I'm quite tired, having stayed up until 4:30 a.m. finishing the load of homework due today, which I was finishing up after the load of homework due yesterday. And tonight I have to annotate the notes I put together for tomorrow night's presentation, so the wave's still washing over me, although the biggest part of it has past.

Good news: It turned out that an hour spent in near-pounding out tunes on my incredibly out-of-tune piano siphoned off enough psychic blockage to let me finish everything I was supposed to finish. On time, if not with a lot of time in there for sleeping. And now that the first wave of the semester has passed, I have time to scan the horizon (er, syllabi) for future waves, so as to see where I can plan for them. I also have time to actually get the piano tuned so that I can do less violence to my ear drums next time I hit reader's or writer's block.

Bad news: I got a negative response to my novel manuscript query in the mail today.

Good news: It was the nicest rejection I've ever gotten. Not only was it very timely (just over 2 weeks since I sent the original by mail) and handwritten, but it began with the word "Alas" (in the sense that "alas, he couldn't take it"). See, some agents can be nice. And now it's time to get back on that horse and get a few more back in the mail quickly, as national events have conspired to give me a window when the topic of my novel is more pertinent than ever.

Bad news: Because I have not yet passed my big nasty exams for my PhD, I may not be able to get a reader's permit to view manuscripts and letters (pertinent to my dissertation topic and my history-ish/archives classes this fall) I've been salivating over that are held at the prestigious Huntington Library in California, when I go there next month.

Good news: I've spoken to the archivist for the collection, and she told me the procedure for asking if I can get in despite not having passed my exams. And even if I don't get a permit, she's willing to meet with me the Monday I'm in the area and get me photocopies of the items I identify as important. This means that, provided the items actually have the exciting information I think is there, I'll be able to write a potentially important paper toward my dissertation this fall. Plus, I'm getting important experience with archives that will help me with future forays into them. Yeah! Good things to temper the bad-news elements of my week!

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