Writing during the sabbatical

I may not have mentioned that I had a sabbatical this semester to write a book. It has been productive time. Of a projected six-chapter manuscript, I have drafted four chapters and about half of a fifth since late August.

It is a more complex and ambitious work than my old dissertation and will probably be well north of 100k words when finished. I am pretty sure, given my current speed, that it will be complete by May.

It has been enjoyable to concentrate mostly on reading and writing, if only for a brief time. I have also had time to push various articles near completion out, which doesn’t hurt either.

The only completely frustrating side effect has been all the ideas. I have generated enough ideas this semester for at least a decade of research. This means difficult decisions ahead as to what to work on next. Given the book will not be finished by Xmas, I can afford to introduce at most two side projects (articles) in the spring. They will not slow down the book at all – they will rather speed it along as they will serve as an outlet and break during the brief moments of block that I sometimes encounter. But it is very frustrating all the same to sit on projects that could be written in a month, had I actually a spare month for them. The edits and endnotes for the book alone will take two months, minimum.

I guess this all beats sitting around with no ideas, though.

Sometime later this month I will submit my 7th article in the last 12 months, a personal record. A lot of work, but the results have been slow coming. One acceptance and one collection chapter waiting on publisher review are the only good news. Another is still out, another is at its 2nd journal, yet another was rejected harshly but I am carefully working its thesis into one of the book’s chapters, and another was rejected 4 times, which means it goes into the cornfield until further notice. The last one is yet to be sent.

Still, work is its own reward, right? Ugh.


Put yourself in the shoes of Kavanaugh. You’ve gone to the right schools, partied with right friends, worked hard in class and on the job, and now, on the eve of your crowning achievement – being a justice on the Supreme Court – you’re accused of attempted rape.

And you know you did it. You may not remember the details or even the event, but your friend Judge remembers. That’s why he’s in hiding, ineffective as it is.

What would you do?

I am a cynical person, because I see people lie all the time about important, moral things. And I suspect most people in that exact position would lie through their teeth. The pull to just tough it out to confirmation would be too powerful to resist. He knows no witness will come forward. There is no consequence to lying… so why not? He can do good on the court. He can justify himself to his wife and kids. Right?


Confessing would destroy him. He claims his family has been destroyed already, but that is laughable compared to Ford’s trauma. Confessing would be the real death blow.

So he avoids it. He denies, under threat of felony.

I don’t think I fully understood privilege until I heard his opening statement. He was full of rage – not against injustice, no. Against cruel fate. Against the ‘left’. All that work and feminist stuff only to be stopped by a woman who dared point out he was flawed.

I understood privilege in an intellectual sense, sure. And I saw kids when I was growing up – and adults later – that by benefit of money or class or sports or some other strange gender or race benefit were going places I could never go. And I was a white male myself, and not poor.

But Kavanaugh… he really thinks he is owed a seat on the SCOTUS. He had paid a fee, and he expects – and demands – payment. I have to say, at my university, if we caught a whiff of that kind of thinking in a job candidate, they’d be gone.

But this guy, coached by his real boss, Trump, in how to respond to sexual allegations, gets the go-ahead. Despite the super-credible victim, despite his tantrum on the Senate floor, because it is politically convenient, and because he’s male.

I wonder how many GOP senators have daughters. Would they vote for the man that tried to rape their daughter? Laughing all the way?


Just, wow.

Funded Leave & Other News

I got an email tonight saying that I have been awarded a Funded Faculty Leave (FFL). Other universities call this a sabbatical. In this case, it means that I will get paid to do little but research for one semester (likely Spring 2019) – no teaching and no service (though I suspect some will sneak in). This is good news. I will use it to draft a new book on the gospels and rhetoric.

In other news, I sent out another article today. That makes four journal submissions in four months. M is due May 7; I should be able to do one more, a chapter in a collection, before he arrives. Actually, I already have a draft, it’s mostly editing at this point.

I could grade, but it’s late, almost 9:15. I think some time with Stellaris is in order…

Gaming Updates

I can’t recommend Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PC enough. It was a blast from start to finish. Highlights include Benedictine monks following their schedule; knocking myself unconscious while riding a horse in full plate under a low overhang; getting drunk with a parish priest; accidentally shooting my horse in the head with an arrow; sabotaging a beheading by dulling the blade, leading to socially awkward hacking; the satisifying crunch that maces make on armor. The graphics are top notch. There were over a hundred quests, all well written and interesting, and I did all of them.

Other thoughts…

I think there is a big opening for old consoles to move their assets to tablets. I would love to play NES and SNES games on my iPad as opposed to the current best method of an emulator on PC.

But it is not like I am suffering. H’s Switch and Zelda on it are pretty awesome. And, until KC:D intervened, I was playing a lot of Civilization 6. It is turn-based so I can play it a little while watching L.