Thursday, August 24, 2006

In which I make socks and consider writing

Firstly, I'm so bored with my Broadripple socks that I can't even look at them anymore. And the Fixation yarn feels nasty in humid weather. So I started a pair of RPMs, toe-up. Behold*:This poor yarn. It's been knit and ript so very many times, through at least three different patterns. But now that I've made it through the short-row heel (which took four tries, three of which I did with the wrong number of stitches in the short row, because try as I might, I can't read a pattern right the first time round, let alone do math properly), I'm liking it. The pattern is a bit hard to see in these photos, but it's nice and subtle. And since I have li'l feets, I should be able to eke out a knee sock from each hank of yarn.

Secondly, I came across two calls for papers today for conferences that are directly up my dissertation alley**. I have about three weeks to slap together proposals, but one I can totally crib from my first chapter and the other is not a far reach from the chapter I should be working on this fall. But you know what would make this a hell of a lot easier? If ever in my academic career I had been taught how to compose a paper proposal. Or even what a successful one looks like. For all the interminable talk about "professionalization" that goes on 'round these parts, we're sorely lacking in the nuts and bolts of How to Do Things.

*Isn't it just charming how my skin glows? Like a pale, ghostly spectre of indolence and shut-in-ed-ness?
**Dissertation Alley is totally my new band name.


Flavia said...

In re: proposals: if you've already written the chapter the material will be coming from, it's easy as pie. I've found that the best thing to do is to radically condense the best parts of the introduction to that chapter. You know: "Although scholarship had long been interested in blah blah blah, critics have strangely overlooked yak yak yak." Set up the problem in a couple of sentences, say what you're doing that's new, and give a teaser of a semi-argument. Then a paragraph of a few good, juicy details (or my new favorite method, the series of questions: "what does this say about X? How does it change our understanding about Y? And what implications does it have for Field of Study?"). Generally, 250-500 words, single-spaced.

If you'd like, I'd be happy to send you one or two that I've done; they ain't things of great beauty, but they got the job done.

Good luck!

St.Eph said...

Oh, good, at least I'm aiming for the ballpark, then. Thanks for the advice, and look for an e-mail from me soon taking you up on that offer.