2020 Writing Log, Part Thirteen

– I finished Chapter 33 of Malice. I’m going to take another day to edit it, and I’ll post it on AO3 tomorrow. This is a lengthy chapter that answers some of the major questions from the first half of the novel and sets up the rules that govern the conflict that’s going to be more important in the second half. Every page of this chapter took at least two hours to write, and it was intense.

– I edited Chapter 32 and posted it on FFN.

– I got the printed copies of It Never Happened. The zine looks amazing, if I do say so myself. I posted a listing on Etsy, and I’ll start promoting it on social media tomorrow.

– My book is now available in hardcover and digital editions on Amazon! The timing of the release isn’t great, so I’m going to wait until May to begin promoting it.

– It’s been a month since I’ve heard from anyone at the press, so I initiated the process of badgering my various editors to pay me for the manuscript and to send me a copy of the book. I’ve been met with complete radio silence. I know we’re living in strange times, but the fact that a large and respected international publisher can’t send me a digital check for $800 and a PDF copy of my own book is disheartening.

– Teaching online classes requires twice the work of teaching in-person classes, and it has none of the pleasures or benefits. Some of my students need a little extra help, but most of them are doing okay. Unfortunately, the students who were shit before are even more shit now, and none of these problem students has been shy about expressing their expectation that I will pass them without them having to do any work at all this semester. To be fair, some of these students probably need a social worker, but I don’t have the training, support structure, access to information, or concrete resources to help them. Being in this situation with no ability to talk with anyone face-to-face is disheartening.

– I know I said that I was finished with being angry at my university, but they sent me two more tenure denial letters this week, one from the Provost and one from the Board of Trustees. I want to reiterate that, since I formally resigned at the beginning of January, this is entirely unnecessary. The fact that actual human beings with actual names and faces decided that it was a priority for them, in the middle of a major global crisis, to sit down and write an actual letter with their actual two hands just out of spite to fire someone who has already quit is disheartening.

– And the letters themselves are ridiculous. They’re basically popularity report cards saying “twelve people like you but three people are ambivalent,” and they contain absurd statements like, “We have no indication that the book listed on Amazon as having been published two weeks ago will be published.” These letters read as if they were written by children, which is disheartening.

– On the bright side, I’m now listed as faculty at UPenn, and the brand-new class I’m teaching in the fall has been approved by the department and listed in the course catalog. This process took about five days, which is a welcome change from it taking fifteen months at my current university. I’m all about accessibility in higher education, but good lord it will be nice not to have to deal with the bureaucracy of a public school anymore.

A lot of these writing logs have me saying that the week was tough but that I managed to pick myself up and get work done anyway. I couldn’t find that motivation at all this week. Not only is everything more difficult and not working the way it’s supposed to, but I also have no way to chill out and blow off steam.

On top of that, it’s impossible not to keep track of the news right now, and what’s not being reported is just as terrible as what is. For example, did you know that several synagogues in the DC metro area were defaced by white supremacists for Passover this week? And that the FBI has apparently had its hands full with preventing white supremacists from attacking hospitals in low-income areas? Between one thing and another, I haven’t had any energy to do more than the bare minimum of what needs to be done. I hope that next week will be better, and not just for me but for all of us.