Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Publication announcement: New short story available!

Last night I got the exciting news that the Wavelengths anthology edited by Jessica Augustsson and containing my long short story (almost a novelette!) "The Platform Between Heaven and Earth" has been published! Here are purchase links: paperback, US; kindle, US; paperback, UK; kindle, UK.

I thought I'd devote a post to talking about what went in to writing this story. I wrote it during Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017, with an original goal of 15k, reduced to 11k about 3 weeks in, and the story ended up being ~10975 words. The inspiration came from an off-hand comment a friend made, when we were visiting the first weekend of the month, about how "language was made for us to miscommunicate with each other". Well, what is that if not inspiration for a tower of Babel story? It made me think, what must it have been like, to have been present at the shift from everyone being able to speak to each other, to suddenly having a communicative rift. What would it be like to no longer be able to speak with those who spoke with just the night before?

Then began the research. The single most important thing for me was to get the names of the characters right, so my research started with looking up info on feminine names in the Old Babylon period. The first thing I found was Marten Stol, "Old Babylonian Personal Names", Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici sul Vicino Oriente antico 8 (1991), which had an amazingly detailed collection of information, including a number of examples of women's names. One of the footnotes in that article led me, inadvertently to W. F. Leemans, Foreign trade in the Old Babylonian period as revealed by texts from southern Mesopotamia, which proved to be one of the most fascinating non-fiction books I've read in a long time -- and one of the few that I've read cover to cover without having been contracted to write a review of it! It was full of vocabulary and anecdotes and letters and information about temple practices; pretty much all of the little details in the story come from that book, such as the use of silver, carnelians, and "fish-eyes" (not known what these are; perhaps pearls?) as temple tithes; burasu, a type of incense made from juniper; and most satisfying of all was that from the information in Stol's article -- specifically: "Similarly, in a cloistered community of priestesses, Amat-Beltani considered the priestess Beltani as her 'matriarch'." (p. 203) -- I had hypothesized the name Amat-Ninkarrek, for someone dedicated to the goddess Ninkarrek, and then I found an example of that name in Leemans' book. I was wicked smug about that. All of the other names found in the story are actual documented names, and Selebum does indeed mean 'fox'.

The gods and goddesses mentioned are all ones especially venerated at the towns/cities they were connected with, and for this I found Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses a very helpful starting point for my research.

Significant research was done regarding the history of the Babel myth itself, the surrounding geography, and the relative chronologies and timelines. For this, Wikipedia was invaluable, particularly with locating the various cities and estimating distances between them, and providing older forms of their names, and giving me basic information about the construction and decoration of ziggurats. As far as I was able to determine, current scholarship identifies the zuggurat Etemenanki, dedicated to Marduk in the city of Babylon, was either the inspiration for the tower of Babel story, or the tower itself. The title of the story comes from the translation of the name, "the temple of the foundation of heaven and earth", also translated house of the platform between heaven and earth.

One of the things I learned while researching the history of the myth is that the idea that the confusion of languages was God's punishment for our hubris was quite a late interpretation, and that in a pre-Christian context or rather a pre-Greek context, 'hubris' was not really a concept that made sense to speak of in this context. (For more info on the former, see Sabrina Inowlocki, "Josephus' Rewriting of the Babel Narrative (Gen. 11:1-9)", Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2006), pp. 169-191). This meant I had to find another reason for why these events would occur that couldn't be predicated on a vengeful, punishing God. I'm still rather pleased with how I managed to do this in the end.

The game that Belti and her friends play in the evenings is a variation of the Royal Game of Ur.

This was an immensely satisfying story to write, and I learned so much from the research -- this post covers only a few of the sources I read, or the links that I've saved in my notes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What I'm going to do on my summer vacation

It's June. My last grades were handed in on Friday. I had a brilliant weekend off followed by a one-day workshop in Antwerp. I'm now back home, dealing with a bit of admin, and after that...basically there is nothing stopping me from plunging in to my summer writing plans.

But one thing I've learned is that it always takes a day or two to transition; I ca'nt just go full-out marking for a month and then jump straight into writing; projects need some time to meld and rest and simmer, while I figure out which one is the right one to do next. Part of that process involves figuring out just what the projects I want to complete are, so here's me, making a list [note, this is just of academic projects I want to do over summer]:

  • "Silencing Voices: Women, Self-censorship, and Logic in the Middle Ages": I presented a draft of this in Minenapolis a at the end of April, and a full version needs to be done by the end of January 2019. To get this from draft to final stage, I'm going to need to read a whole bunch more primary sources than I have done.
  • "Possible Impossibilities"/"Possible Impossibilities in Medieval Disputations": This paper has been sitting at ~75% done since I presented it in Konstanz in, um, 2012. I don't know why I haven't been able to finish it, but there have been so many people I've promised it to when it's done, that I'd really like to get that wrapped up and off my plate.
  • A chapter on an early 20th C female logician for a book on women in philosophy by women in philosophy for women who aren't yet in philosophy that an ex-student of mine is editing. I need to figure out whom I want to write about!
  • I'd like to spend more time figuring out What problem Ladd was trying to solve.
  • What, exactly does Grosseteste say about logic and the study of logic in De artibus?
  • Revise #TheNovel. [edited to add]
  • Paper for symposium in Singapore. [edited to add]
  • 5-7 pages responding to a paper on contradictory Christology. [edited to add]

I also hope to lay down some of the groundwork for the two projects (one on fandom and philosophy, the other on spatial and temporal logics for building chronologies and maps for stories) that will be my focus during next academic year when I have two terms of research leave. But in the meantime, those five projects should keep me busy over the next four months, especially in tandem with fiction writing and also hopefully referee reports coming back on papers currently in submission. I also want to do some very basic feasibility research related to my grand plan for world domination.

May writing wrap-up

So...May was an odd month! I barely cracked 20k, with an average of just over 700 words a day, and for the first time since September I failed my goal of 400 words a day for 5 out of every 7 days; one long weekend involving a conference in Ireland and a medieval re-enactment event meant I just didn't get anything written. That's the first three-day stretch I haven't written in 6 months, which is something to be proud of!

From the rest of the bar graph, it's pretty clear what I was doing: May is marking month! There were reports on MA theses, answer keys for two final exams, letters of recommendation, and more that I can't even remember -- it all tends to blur together and once it's over I don't really want to think about it any more!

Ordinarily, I think I would've been disappointed at how little "real work" (aka nonfiction) I wrote that month, but when I put this month in context with others, I see that it's okay for me to have a "down" month, especially since it was legitimately filled with exam-related stuff instead, and starting this month I've got four months that should have almost no admin whatsoever. (Almost. So far this month, pretty much all I've done is admin...) Also, at least some of what went into homework answer keys will end up eventually in my textbook, so that's some consolation -- and that's also why I so assiduously count all my words. Just because it's "merely" admin doesn't mean that it doesn't positively contribute to my research profile.

What I am pleased with is how much fiction I managed to write -- it's a piddly amount in comparison to other months, but there were a couple of things I wanted to work on, and I managed to do so. I'm looking forward to summer being a time when I can finish up a few things I've half started.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Speculations, or, a day in the life of inside my head

(Dear friends, I need your help reminding me that I don't actually want to start a publishing house. I don't want to deal with finances. I don't want to deal with taxes. I don't want to deal with marketing. I don't want to deal with advertising. I don't want to deal with website hosting. Really. So tell me why/that the below is a bad idea, to help me remember this.)

Normally when I write on this blog, I try to frame things in a relatively linear narrative, even if I don't have an argument I'm trying to make. But this isn't really how the inside of my head looks. This post, you're going to get a only-very-lightly-editing transcript of things I've been thinking about the last few days.

  • Hunh, it's been like two months since I submitted that Plato paper to the emotions journal. I wonder when I'll hear back from them. Eh, probably not until the end of summer.
  • Gosh. If that had been one of my fiction submissions, I'd be checking the Grinder daily and calculating what it means when it's been 1, 4, 7, 20 days without rejection, or when someone else's story submitted after mine has already been rejected and mine hasn't.
    • I really wish there was such a thing as the Grinder for academic journals.
  • It's really strange how the norms differ between SFF mags and academic journals. With few exceptions, the response times for the former are so much quicker.
    • That's because there's no peer review.
    • But there are slush piles and slush readers.
    • But that isn't the same. Remember? You point to this as something you like about fiction, that it's judged on a subjective basis, that a rejection doesn't mean "your story sucks" but "it's not to our taste/doesn't fit our next issue/didn't grab us/wasn't right for us". And it's important we have peer review.
    • Wait, why is it? What would happen if we published papers because we thought they were interesting/had something useful to say/were enjoyable to read?
    • We'd be inundated with CRAP.
    • But I'm sure SFF journals are inundated with crap too.
    • Yes, but somehow they manage to extract non-crap and publish good stories. With a short turnaround time. AND they pay.
  • Oooh, that's right. There's another reason why things differ: They pay.
    • The thing about paying markets, is that they probably get even more crap than non-paying ones, because of the potential reward of submitting.
    • But somehow or other, the possibility of payment also attracts the high quality submissions, and SFF journals manage to weed out the crap and publish the "good stuff" (in the sense that what they publish is what people want to read and come back to read more of).
    • "Because they pay money for what they publish, they’re likely to publish better quality stuff" seems to get the causal order entirely wrong.
    • Yes, but it 'hurts' more to pay to publish something bad, so there's an onus to only publish good things.
    • Still. There does seem to be some connection between venues that pay and venues that publish high quality work.
  • Imagine what it would be like if academic journals paid people to publish their work.
    • Pro rate fiction markets pay $.06/word. For your typical 12,000 word journal article, that’s $720.
    • Gosh. That’s a lot. I wonder how SFF venues manage to fund that.
    • [pause to enumerate all the options I've seen/can think of:
      1. Subscription fees.
      2. Paid advertisements.
      3. Patreons.
      Ad (1): But what about the SFF journals that publish "open-access"? Ad (2): Hah, what kind of advertisements can you imagine an academic journal attracting?! Ad (3): Hmm, there's a thought. Would people seriously commit to supporting an open-access, paying-to-author philosophy journal?]
  • Suppose they would. Well, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't until it was well-established.
    • Well, I am in a financial position where I could probably fund $.01/word out of my own pocket, for a select number of articles/issue, maybe at 2 issues/year. At least to get things going.
  • Gosh, if I were to found such an open-access, paying-to-author philosophy journal, what would I want to publish?
    • Stuff I find interesting.
    • That's ad hoc. You can't market that.
    • Hmmm, what draws together everything I like to read and write? If it were fiction, that would be easy: It's broadly 'speculative'.
    • What would count as 'speculative' philosophy?
    • Well...philosophy that asks or answers a 'What if?' 'What if meaning were compositional?' ' 'What if we looked at medieval logical treatises to find out what kind of temporal operators they use?' 'What if we could axiomatise common knowledge?' 'What if we try to take seriously the practice of producing and consuming fandom and analyse it from a philosophical point of view?'
  • Hmm. You might be on to something.
  • I totally am. 'Cause you know what we could do? We could call it Speculations , and make everyone who submitted a paper also include the 'What if?' question they are trying to ask/answer as part of their abstract?
  • That would be one way of tying everything together to make it look like you had a coherent project.
  • And you know what would be even better? We wouldn't have to restrict ourselves to publishing nonfiction! We could indulge that other daydream we keep returning to, of making a venue for the publication of 'philosophical' fiction. We could publish BOTH.
  • And make the authors of the fiction pieces also tell us the 'What if' their story addresses.
  • See?! Isn't this a brilliant idea?! We can run both nonfic and fic through a 'slush pile' which will probably result in a lot of desk rejections with brief comments ('didn’t grab me', 'too much stereotyping', 'don't feel qualified to judge the results'), but since we're paying, we wouldn't publish anything without vetting it properly, e.g., double check the results ourselves, or find a willing referee to look over the paper, but only in a short turn around time, focusing on the question 'would you stake money on the results of this paper?' or 'would you stake someone else's money on the results of this paper?' Certainly if we're paying out of pocket, we'd want to have some reason to think the papers were good. Of course that might make the journal rather skewed towards my own interests...but this isn't really a problem with spec fic venues, so why should that be a problem with nonfic? And if we we could always eventually bring in slush readers who could at least read things from outside our area of specialisation and say 'this could be decent, look into it further' or 'definitely chuck this'. And if we published fiction in addition to nonfiction, we'd be eligible for a listing on the Grinder.
  • Well, that seals it.

So, peeps, tell me (why) this is a bad idea!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Writing Wrap-Up

April was an odd month. First, there was Easter and the concomitant holiday. Then, the last of my four deadlines was April 6, which meant a furious week of nonfiction writing. After that it was one weekend conference followed by another conference the end of the next week, and another the weekend after that. Because I was going to be working two whole weekends as a result, I took three days off while G was still out of school. Then my term started up again, and so did all the admin work. So it was swings and roundabouts when it came to what I was writing and then; still, I managed an average of 846 words a day, and wrote at least 5 days out of every 7, which, considering all the conferences and childcare, I feel is damn good.

Overall, I wrote just over 25k, my 2nd most productive month of the year so far. I think what makes me happiest about the month was that I managed to complete short stories for two deadlines. Both of them I finished on the day, so in May my goal is to finish one BEFORE a deadline; but considering that one of them I only realised 6 days previously that I needed to rewrite it from the POV of a different character, and I wrote the bulk of it while on the train up to St Andrews the day before it was due (and the day it was due found me getting up early to bang away in my hotel room before the conference started -- AND staying up late after the conference dinner to finish it!), I'm just thrilled I finished it.

Looking at the bar chart, it feels strange that I wrote so little nonfiction; it felt like my Easter break was way more productive than that stat displays, but I think what's tripping me up is that most of my Easter term productivity happened in March!

I've got two more teaching days this week, and then exam season starts. I've already started concocting grand plans for my summer productivity...bring on May! In the next few days I intend to write up my grand plans, because there's nothing like public accountability to keep me going.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Who is our audience?

The last few days I have been at the fantastically wonderful workshop on Feminist Philosophy and Formal Logic organised by Jessica Gordon-Roth and Roy T. Cook at the University of Minnesota. We're a group of about 25 people, of which only about 1/5 are men, and we've been put up in a rustic Minnesotan hunting lodge (complete with chocolate lab, feet-high drifts of snow, enormous fireplace, and possibly haunted basement art studio). In true workshop fashion, the presenting participants circulated papers in advance and then each was given about 15 minutes to summarise the important bits of their paper and then an hour to hold the floor for questions.

When I received an invitation to present, my first response was "But I don't know anything about feminist philosophy – here, should I say something about my women in medieval logic project instead?" and thankfully Jessica and Roy thought that was great and let me come anyway. I kicked off the first day (very nice, no preconceived notions of what we were supposed to be talking about), which ended up being rather historical in bent while the second day was slightly more formal in bent.

What was interesting was that both days ended up -- completely organically, being dominated by a particular thematic-question. The first day, it was "Who is a logician?" In my talk I spoke about Christian de Pizan's statement "Je ne suis logicienne", and what it meant to be a logician and who gets to self-identify as a logician and who gets to call someone else a logician -- and also who gets to self-deny and who gets to deny others. It was interesting the number of people who then went on to preface their talk or their comment on a talk with "I am not a logician" (in fact, I think I may have been one of the only ones who identifies as a logician first and foremost!).

But it's the question that seemed to characterise the second day that I want to talk about most: Who are we writing these papers for? Who is our audience?

The papers presenting formal models tended to be of a similar structure: Here's this cool thing in feminist philosophy that we can construct a formal model out of. The formal model doesn't always get things right, but there's a bunch of knobs that we can twiddle whenever the model makes some prediction that doesn't seem right. But there are a bunch of questions the formal model doesn't answer; these answers can only be gotten from the world. A number of the papers also made some sort of apology for the use of formal tools, and a discussion of how the authors tried to make the formal side of things more accessible to those who might not have had as much training in them as those who call themselves logicians do. What I found interesting is that these two groups of responses/reactions only make sense if you take the audience of the papers to be radically different.

There are, as I see it, three main groups of people that can be the answer to "Who are the formal tools for?":

  1. The feminist philosophers.
  2. The formal logicians.
  3. The authors.

(These groups are neither exhaustive, nor exclusive, but are the most likely/typical. The groups are also not uniform, even though I speak below of "the feminist philosopher" or "the logician".)

(1): If the audience for a paper presenting a formal model of some aspect of feminist epistemology, etc., then the model needs to substantially engage with the phenomena in the world: It has to get things right, it isn't enough to say "if it doesn't, we can always twiddle the knobs until it does." This isn't going to be helpful as a tool to the feminist philosopher who may not know how to twiddle the knobs appropriately.

(2): If the paper is a sort of "proof of concept" for logicians, along the lines of "look at this interesting stuff that you might not think was amenable to formal modeling or logic that actually is, maybe you should look into this further", then there is no need to apologise for using the formal methods. After all, the way to make this material accessible to the logicians is to speak it in a language they already understand! I will happily put myself in this group, and say that papers like this are for, among others things, me, and for people like me, who might not have previous been exposed to feminist philosophy or standpoint epistemology or anything like that, but now have more access to them via a language they understand. But this group also includes people for whom the logical symbolism is in fact the easier way to grasp new ideas than reading prose alone, for example, people with certain types of learning disabilities. To assume that the prose of the feminist philosophers is always more accessible than the symbols of the logician is not a helpful stance to take -- nor is any position along the lines of "If the only way you logicians will be interested in feminist philosophy is if we translate it into logic for you, then screw you" (any more than saying "if the only way you feminist philosophers will be interested in logic is if we translate feminist philosophy into it for you, then screw you" is), especially when everyone here are people who value logic and logical methods.

(3): I sometimes think that people downplay the importance of the process of modeling in favor of the end-model itself. But, speaking anecdotally here, I've always found the process of building the formal model way more useful than the end model itself -- the process is what helps me clarify the concepts, figure out what questions to be asking, find out where the uncertainty lies. Of course at the end I always hope that I've come out with a model that could be used for something, but the utility doesn't lie in the end-model alone, it also lies in the process by which we got it. So I think we should keep in mind that sometimes, the audience for papers like these can be the authors themselves, who can then take what they've learned from the process of modeling and use that to guide their future questioning.

I've actually got quite a bit more to say about questions of audience more broadly -- whom do we write for when we write academic papers vs. blog posts, whom do I write for when I write fiction, whom do my students write for when they write papers or dissertations, but I'll take that up in another post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"How do you do it?"

Twice in recent weeks I've been asked "How do you do it?", usually accompanied with a boggled look as the person in question tries to take into account my primary academic persona, my secondary academic persona, my life as a writer, the fact I have a partner and a child, and I still manage to binge-watch plenty of SciFi, eat a lot of pizza, drink a lot of beer, do medieval re-enactment on the weekends, and still get ~8 hours of sleep a night.

It's kind of an awkward question to be asked, but when the first person -- someone I've known since we grew up in the same neighborhood! -- asked, I put quite a bit of time into thinking about the answer, because I was being asked with a view to perhaps providing my friend with some tips she could incorporate into her own life. It was a useful exercise, and I ended up writing her a long and involved email with a lot of biographical detail. It also meant that when I was asked a similar question this Sunday night just gone, I was able to boil it down to three primary factors. But it was mostly useful because it forced me to see which contributing factors are ones I have/had control over, and which ones are difficult to suggest to other people to do.

So, how do I do it (all)? I've written here before about some of my productivity techniques (e.g., my daily writing, my New Year's resolutions), but they're actually products of my circumstances rather than contributors to them (if that makes sense). If I have to boil it down to the essence, it is these three things:

  1. I have a supportive partner.
  2. I have a child.
  3. I have incredibly low standards of household cleanliness/tidiness.

(1) is definitely one of the "luck" ones; though I figure I can take a little bit of credit for having picked a good one (and certainly some credit for not picking the three alternatives I had at various points in my life), there was no way I could have known in advance just how integral to my success he would be. His support ranges from the very high-level emotional/structural support (e.g., going along with my rather impulsive idea that we move to Europe to finish our PhDs; doing a PhD in logic at the same time I was doing the same so that I always had someone to talk to and sympathise with; leaving academia in order to follow me and my post-docs around Europe) to the very concrete (he works from home and does the lion's share of general household maintenance, including grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning; his job is often more flexible than mine so he handles unplanned childcare needs; he makes a lot of our travel arrangements when we go on trips). I know it's not polite to compare partners, but when I read some of the stories of other people's partners in some of the "women in academia" groups I'm in on FB, I can't help be see how lucky I am, and how much I have benefited from having him around. Advice: Get yourself a supportive partner if you don't already have one.

(2) As strange as it sounds, one of the best things I ever did for "work-life balance" (which is a phrase I have issue with, but those issues needn't be relevant here) was have a child. I got 12 weeks post-natal maternity leave, and took another week holiday, but then my daughter started nursery at 3 months old and has been in care ever since. (She loves it; I love it; it has been nothing short of amazing for everyone involved.) For the first year or so, she went to nursery 20 hours a week, Monday - Thursday, 1pm-6pm. At the time, I was a post-doc, and my supervisor (bless him) pretty much said "As long as you keep up a reasonable research output, I don't care if you're only in the office part-time." What I learned in that year was to become incredibly efficient in my work habits: When I was in the office, I worked as hard as I could so that my other 20 hours, I didn't feel bad if all I managed to get done was read a few articles or write a referee report or do some data entry in between naps, feedings, playing, etc. When we moved to Germany, G. started full-time nursery, 40 hours a week, at 15 months. I always knew that I didn't want her to be away from home more than a "standard" (whatever that means) work week, which meant that when 5 o'clock came around every day, there was little temptation to say "Oh, I'll just work on this a little bit longer." Even now, I have a "don't forget to pick your daughter up from after school club" alarm that goes off every weekday at 4:45pm, giving me enough time to walk up to school and get her by 5pm. I also found that when she was young, I was too tired to work in the evenings/weekends, and as she got older and I got less sleep-deprived, it got harder to work evenings/weekends when she was awake. I was continually frustrated and disappointed about not being able to get anything done on weekends and eventually -- when she was about 2.5 -- stopped planning to get anything done. (Literally, anything). This way if I did get something done -- laundry, cooking a meal, reading a paper -- it counted as a win. And you know what I found? My research output didn't materially differ, whether I was working 40 hours a week or 60 hours a week or more. My dad always used to say "garbage accumulates to fill the available space"; I'd like to say "work accumulates to fill the available time". No matter how much time you devote to work, there will always be more work that you can do. Advice: While I can't in good conscience recommend "go out and have a baby!", I can recommend: Try a week or two where you put a limit on the amount of time you spend on your paying-job-work. When you reach that limit, stop and do something else. See how much you can train yourself to get done when you have to work within stricter bounds.

(3) is pretty self-explanatory. How do I have so much time to spend doing the things I want to be doing? Because I prioritise them over many other things. Sometimes I prioritise them a bit too much -- I think everyone in the house, myself included, would be happier if I vacuumed more often and tried to keep the livingroom tidier -- but I never said I was perfect. :) Also, if I spend my evenings writing fiction or working on my onomastic research, I feel less aggrieved when I spend weekend time cleaning and tidying. (It's also much easier to clean the house on the weekend, when I have a 6yo awake and around, than it is to write; and it's also much easier to write in the evenings, when I have a 6yo asleep, than it is to clean.) But (3) is also related to something else, which is that I am an intrinsically pretty selfish person. I get 8 hours of sleep a night because I am not willing to sacrifice my sleep for other people. I prioritise the things I find worthwhile because I am a happier person when I do so. (And it's a compounding process: When I am a happier person, I am more productive with the things that I do, including the things I don't want to do.) Advice: Lower your standards.

These are the primary factors. There are some other things which contribute to my productivity: I've always lived within walking/biking distance of work/daycare. For a 9-5 day, I leave the house around 8:45 and get home around 5:30. I embarked on what laid the foundation for my secondary academic specialism when I was 10 (seriously when I was about 15), and for many years it was my hobby, a means of relaxation and escape. I've now turned it into a proper academic endeavor, and if my primary research is going well, I will happily allow myself to spend working-hours time on onomastics instead of philosophy/logic. But likewise I am also happy to work on that material in the evenings because I can still treat it as a hobby: when I chose to work on it "out of hours" it is because I am doing so for the intrinsic enjoyment it brings, not because of any deadlines or requirements or guilt or the like.

Before concluding, I will say there was a bit of a learning curve when I started my job at Durham in Oct. 2014, and moved from purely research positions to a position where I have to balance research with teaching and admin. My first few terms I got quite anxious about how little time I got to devote to research; but then I realised "Oh. That's what term breaks and summer break are for," and with that realisation I've been able to stave off anxiety about projects and also tap into the "you have [[this much]] time to get all these projects done, so when break starts, you do the work." (This is the start of the third week of Easter break. In the last two weeks, I have brought four papers to their next stage of completion (two new papers in submission; one R&R resubmitted; one significant draft submitted for a workshop). Two of those papers were co-written, and that's another factor in productivity -- I offload all the bits I hate about writing to my co-author! (He does the same to me, so it's fair.)) I also limit the amount of time I spend prepping for teaching -- I generally have 4-6 contact hours a week, and spend about 2 hours prepping for all of them -- and work to integrate my research into my teaching as much as possible. (Having been in this position long enough to not have new preps each year helps a lot!)

So how do I do it all? Weekdays my alarm goes off at 7:45 so that G. and I can be out the house and on the way to school by 8:15. I drop her off at 8:45, and get to my office around 9:00, where I work until 4:45 and then head up to school to pick her up. We're home by around 5:30, and eat supper between 5:45-6:15. Around 6:45 we start the bedtime routine, which ends around 7:15/7:30; she's allowed to stay up reading until 8:00 if she wants but after 7:30pm I am not available for general mothering activities. I head to bed around 11pm, read for about an hour, and am usually asleep by midnight. During my time in the office, I read, write, teach, prep to teach, hold office hours, meet with students, etc., etc., etc., prioritising my logical and philosophical research, but sometimes devoting a day or two to onomastics. During the evenings, I write fiction, do onomastic data entry, or indulge in another hobby (like calligraphy and illumination). Weekends are for chores and errands, but also family time -- we have lunch at the pub every Saturday in between G's peforming arts lessons and running errands, and Saturday evenings I make pizza and J and I eat it, drink beer, and binge whatever TV series we're on. It's a pretty good life.