Excerpts, WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for November 28

I have been MIA from this blog for far too long, having spent the last seven months on sabbatical. I will not promise to be back on a regular basis, but I promise that I will try to return more often.

I offer below a WIPpet based on my work these past several months. It is not fiction, nor even creative nonfiction, but a snippet of my dissertation, which is a critical edition of a 1530 Middle English translation of a French work written in 1400 by Christine de Pizan. The sentiments expressed by the translator will relate to many of us, I suspect.

My math is (1+1) x (2+8), minus 1 because it didn’t work to do twenty sentences or lines. Please go check out the other snippets that have been posted here:

In the twentieth century, many scholars, especially those studying Christine’s influence and relevance for contemporary times, have focussed on Christine’s works on women’s education and place in society. Moreau and Hicks, in their translation into modern French of Cité des dames, remark that the spirit of the work is “étonnament moderne” [stunningly modern]; they compare Christine’s views on women’s status to those of Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf (Moreau and Hicks, 14-16). At the same time, Moreau and Hicks insist that one must “non seulement prendre conscience de ce qui nous rapproche de celles et de ceux qui nous ont précédés, mais aussi de ce qui nous en sépare” [not only be aware of that which draws us closer to the women and men who have preceded us, but also of that which separates us] (Moreau and Hicks 22). In this manner, these scholars avoid the common critical blunder of “seeing in Christine de Pizan the apostle of modern female emancipation” (Kennedy 11). Some literary sociologists have measured Christine against their own standards, overlaying modern social structures upon Christine’s texts; in 1935, this conflation led to Howard Rollin Patch referring to Christine as “the militant suffragist” (Patch 25).

  1. Boke of thy rudenesse by consyderacion
  2. Plunged in the walowes of abasshement
  3. For thy translatoure, make excusacion
  4. To all to whom thou shalt thy selfe present
  5. Besechynge them upon the sentement
  6. In the composed to set theyr regarde
  7. And not on the speeche cancred and frowar[de]
  8. Shewe them that thy translatour hath the wryten
  9. Not to obtayne thankes or remuneracions
  10. But to the entent, to do the to be wryten
  11. As well in Englande, as in other nacyons
  12. And where mysor[dre, in t]hy translacion is
  13. Unto the perceyver, with humble obeysaunce
  14. Excuse thy reducer, blamyng his ygnoraunce.

 

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ROW80

Round 1 Goals for 2013

The following are my goals for the first Round of a Round of Words in 80 Days in 2013.  What is A Round of Words, or ROW80, as  participants like to call it? It is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.”  Click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan.

2012 was a tough year for a lot of people, including me.  I found myself having trouble fighting my self-doubt and staying on track, often thinking, “Oh, what’s the use? I’ve not got the chops for this anyway.”

This round I have to concentrate on non-fiction, finishing a couple of articles for the day job, since I have an annual evaluation coming up in March.

Writing:

  • Spend at least four hours a week on an article, in whatever configuration works for me.  Although I  usually write before work, I find that frustrating when I want to spend more time than I have between my comatose and rush-out-the-door states.


Community:

  • As a sponsor, I will visit my assigned blogs twice a week.
  • I will reply to all comments on my blogs.
  • I will spend no more than 5 hours a week on social media.  


Exercise:

  • I will walk for twenty minutes an evening.
  • I will continue to use the stairs.
  • I will look into the gym at work.  The thought doesn’t appeal, but it is handy and cheap.


Personal:

  • I will set aside a half-hour every evening to read.
  • I will spend at least one hour a week contacting a friend by whatever means work best.
  • I will have a “date night” with my husband at least twice a month.
  • I will spend at least one hour a week with at least one of my kids.
Renegade Reflections, ROW80

Writing as Cinderella

Have you ever had to follow your own advice, when you don’t want to, because you will look hypocritical otherwise?  In the last Round, I wrote my inspirational post about not disappearing, even when you have fallen off the wagon, which is an apt description, since I should stand up  to proclaim, “My name is Elizabeth, and I am unable to stick to goals and timetables,” much like in an AA meeting.

Yes, I have had reasons to disappear. My brother ended up in the emergency room last Monday with pneumonia. His oncologist thought he’d have to operate last week to ease his breathing, but by the end of the week, my brother was breathing better, pulled off the “nuclear war” antibiotics, as he put it, and the surgery has been slightly postponed.

Also, I’m up to my nostrils in the blogging course, and have some draft posts in the hopper. I’ve been doing a lot of housekeeping of electronic files, paring back an overgrown inbox, planning for the arrival of my new boss in January, who will want to know what I’ve been doing with myself these last eight months.  I have entered the full marathon of new committees and supervisory assignments as well. One task force meeting was two hours away, and lasted from 10:00 to 3:00, effectively torpedoing one work day. I’ve been working assiduously on the article based on my Pierpont Morgan research trip.

However, I’m just not feeling much of anything this week. Flat, hollow, meh.  The topic of the week for the academic writing group was whether our writing is an ally or a foe.  One of the participants, Z, gave a compelling description of writing as “a prisoner of war.”

This image struck me, because writing has always been my ally, my confidante, my friend, something that understood me when my colleagues did not. Perhaps because I have worked in many non-tenure-accruing environments, I have always been a bit odd in enjoying writing, since many of my colleagues chose such positions in order to avoid writing.  In my current day job, I have quickly become known as a “great editor,” when I am really just a bit more practiced and efficient in my writing, and abhor institutional doublespeak.

Even among graduate students, a group that one would think would embrace writing, I’ve known many bright, engaged, thinkers who lost themselves when handed a compass and a canteen and told to journey forth into the great Dissertation desert.  Some, if not most, of their failure is due to mentoring or lack thereof, but there are many who just discovered they didn’t enjoy writing.

If I am honest, I have often thought of my writing as Cinderella, something that is largely ignored, forgotten, sitting in the ashes of the fireplace, but hard-working and able to shine if given a bath and some attention. However, I am guilty of pushing my writing back into the fireplace as often as not, complicit in keeping it ignored and dull.  I fall far too easily into the “It’s urgent, it must be important,” trap, as well as cancelling appointments with myself, or shorting goals because others are always more important than I am.  I should not be surprised that Cinderella sometimes refuses to work with me, sulking in the corner, or worse, picks up the poker and cuffs me upside the head with it.

I commit myself to being a better sponsor for the rest of the Round; I commit to spending half an hour a day writing something; I commit to re-acquainting myself with Cinderella.

The end of the Round is nigh; please go encourage someone in the group.  The blog hop link is here.

ROW80

Manuscripts and Incunabula, Oh My

This week I’m in Manhattan, on a research grant from the day job, spending my days at the Pierpont Morgan Library. I am in my element here, I have to say.  I spent Monday with photocopies of manuscripts and yesterday morning with microfilm, but I worked with a manuscript from around 1440 yesterday afternoon.  Later this week, I will look at an early printed book from about 1530–not an incunabulum, like I said in the title, but “early printed book” doesn’t fit in the linky title line very well!

I get these chances to do research very seldom, but they are always revelatory when I get them.  Not only do I enjoy doing this research, like a pig in clover, my aunt would have said, but I’m very good at it.  It boosts my self-confidence immensely to dust off my paleographic and language skills, immersing myself in the alien cultures of 15th- and 16th-century England and France and finding myself so very much at home.

I find that I am storing up all the experience like photographs of loved ones, to take with me. I can pull them out in low times to remember who I am and where I come from.

I’m not meeting my other goals due to spotty internet, but I will have time to catch up when I return home.  I am ecstatic that I could start this Round with such a wonderful sprint, or to follow on my fledgling images from last Round, a breathtaking soar far above the treetops.

Kait’s post  about best practices and checking in with others is a very good one.  Please add the best practice of encouraging everyone; they are listed here.

ROW80

ROW80 Round 4 2012 Goals

 With this post I announce my goals for the fourth round in 2012 of A Round of Words in 80 Days, which is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.”  Click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan.

Round 3 was a tough one for a lot of people, including me.  I’m not sure why it was difficult for me, because not that much changed from Round 2 to Round 3. *shrugs shoulders* However, excelsior!

I am going to retain  the breakout of goals I did last round, which were writing, community, exercise, and family/friends.  This round I am going to include the writing I need to do for the day job, because it impacts my writing in both positive and negative ways.

Writing:

Fiction:

  • I will create an outline of the entire novel, spending at least 7 hours a week in whatever configuration works for that week.

Non-Fiction:

  • I’m starting a blogging course on October 8th, and will keep up with the assignments.
  • I will be doing research the week of October 1-5, which I will turn into a first draft of an article, spending at least 4 hours a week from October 8th on, in whatever configuration.

Community:

  • As a sponsor, I will visit my assigned blogs twice a week.
  • I will reply to all comments on my blogs.
  • I will spend no more than 5 hours a week on social media.  I will assess which platforms work for me, and which ones do not.

Exercise:

  • I got stress fractures in two metatarsals by walking, so I will walk for only twenty minutes an evening.
  • I will continue to use the stairs.
  • Starting October 8th, I will investigate low impact exercise, choosing one by week’s end.


Personal:

  • I will set aside a half-hour every evening to read.
  • I will spend at least one hour a week contacting a friend by whatever means work best.
  • I will have a “date night” with my husband at least twice a month.
  • I will spend at least one hour a week with at least one of my kids.