Reboot, 2011-style: with sassy Texas sauce.
Sorry, where was I? Okay, so in an effort to return to more of an online presence, and to keep these damn spammers out of my blog, I'm restarting the New Donestre Social Club. Here's what I've been doing since . . . 2009? Oh, [expletive deleted].
Okay, first the good news: I did finish my dissertation and pass my defense, and took the long walk across the stage in May of 2010. I then went to Kalamazoo and delivered what was admittedly a poorly thought out paper to a semi-hostile audience. "Poorly thought out" because lit review is a) not theory and b) not interesting to listen to, and I should have realized that before I went. "Semi-hostile" because the actual questions I got were rather supportive, but one of my co-presenters was a bit confrontational. Ah well. It got me there, and I had a good time otherwise, and bought an obscene number of books with some of my graduation money.
Also good news: I am employed. Less good: said employment is at the same institution where I got my degrees. It's a 4/4 non-tenured position, but it does pay well and comes with benefits, and so long as enrollment stays high, it's mine if I want it.
This spring, I actually got to teach an entire Medieval course, which rocked. I did Arthurian Romance, and we covered everything from the early sources to Malory. That course was the trial run for a "Digital Media Project," which I'd come up with last fall in an effort to look interesting to prospective employers (why sugar-coat it?). That did okay, though it wasn't as coherent as I'd have liked, and several students said they would have liked a regular paper instead.
Now the frustrating news: The job search was just as bad the second time around; I had one institution request more of my dossier, but that was it. So . . . here's to September! I'll ride that damn horse 'till it takes me to a new home.
I've also had a hell of a time getting anything published. I have excerpted and heavily re-edited one chapter of my dissertation, and I think it's in pretty good shape. However, editors of several of our discipline's journals have thought otherwise. I keep sending it out, though. It'll find a home somewhere.
So, that brings us up to the present. After taking a year off from writing, I've been working on a few projects--class in Sir Orfeo, heterotopia in Le Morte Darthur, memory in Beowulf--and hope to get them in conference-shape soon. Actually, Malory's been presented a few times, so I'll probably just try to make that a real essay.
This fall, I'll be teaching three sections of Freshman Composition and one section of our newly-revived Introduction to Literature Course. The former are centered around sustainability, a theme suggested by No Impact Man, our university's choice for its One Book One Community program this fall. The latter I'm teaching as a course in close reading and textual analysis, because a) our students have repeatedly requested such a course and b) they damn well need it. I'm having fun putting both courses together.