Very pertinent advice

Pertinent advice for early-career researchers, delivered on the basis of the circus that was my application-submitting over the last couple of days:

If you have something accepted for publication by a journal – such as a an article or review – make sure to:

1. Remember that you wrote it, and it was accepted

2. Obtain a copy

3. Write it down somewhere, such as in your CV

4. Remember its existence more than 48 hours before the application deadlines for scholarships, postgraduate programs, etc.

Why, yes, I did manage to have a review published in a peer-review journal and completely forget about it, and spend some time wondering if my not having published ANYTHING AT ALL would impede my scholarship chances, and so on. I let my membership lapse with the Australian Early Medieval Association, so I didn’t get a copy of volume 5, and was thus not reminded. When I happened to glance at the book (Kleist’s The Old English Homily) and think “hmm, I reviewed that, didn’t I OH WAIT”, I actually did not know whether it had been published (because I didn’t keep in contact with the reviews editor, due to forgetting it), and nor did I have all the citation details and so on that you need.

The library own a copy of volume 5.  The library have lost their copy of volume 5.

Fortunately, I have a very indulgent best friend, and the Centre for Celtic Studies was having a special lecture today so there were Celticists about. Be it known that Pamela O’Neil, editor of JAEMA, is a wonderful human being, the kind who opens up the envelope with the copy of JAEMA she was about to mail off to someone, and runs off photocopies for said very indulgent best friend. The Centre for Medieval Studies all already know I’m a scatterbrain, and now, let my reputation procede me into the Centre for Celtic Studies. :s

One day, I may establish myself as an organised and calm person. That day is not today.

On the bright side, mwahahahaa, I have a Publication Record. Of exactly one thing, and I don’t know how much reviews count for in the scholarship stakes, but something is better than nothing at all!

My essay follows the same symettrical pattern as the poem itself.

1. Establish a social context.

2. Establish the ideal hero.

3. Test the ideal hero.

4. Reveal his weaknesses and return to relate him once again to his social context.

Yes, I am that awesome. Well, I would’ve been if I realised I was doing it. If I’d realised I was doing it, I would’ve broken the essay into four sections, and headed each with a decorated capital. (And possibly put four smaller capitals in there as well, which may or may not constitute further sub-divisions.) Unfortunately, I didn’t think of this until I was just about to hand it in, and I decided it wasn’t worth going and changing it now.

It is far too long (ahem. I mean… it’s just right, Lolo!), and my ideas are sprawling and there’s so much more I want to say. On the other hand, it’s certainly the most dense thing I’ve ever written. And it has a Theoretical Basis, even if it’s not a very well researched one.

However, in I’m-not-going-to-say-how-much-more-than-three-thousand words, I had all of fourteen or fifteen footnotes. This happened in the last essay I wrote too, although here it’s exacerbated by my decision, according to the rules of the MHRA Style Guide, to cite line-numbers in text rather than in footnote.  The beginning and end of the essay are resonably well represented with secondary source footnoting, but the middle is just me blathering on about the poem.

Is this supposed to happen? Until now, the better I’ve gotten at writing essays, the more footnotes I made. Last year I prided myself on a ratio of footnote/words that was greater than 1/50 at all times. Now I’m writing things which feel harder, and I suppose that’s the collorary of having a big slab of original idea: no one to cite for it. It feels a bit like having my training wheels taken off. (When I learnt to ride a bike, training wheels had to be taken off one by one when I wasn’t looking, or I’d cry and refuse to get on it again.)

While I go off to find a desperately needed coffee, have yourselves an interesting modern poem about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

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