Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rejection

No one likes it, no one is "good" at it, and few handle it with the desired (face-saving) grace. As used as I am to it, I am no "good" at it. It sticks in the undersides of my eyelids. Not enough to be crippling but enough to grate every second of the day.

(What's worse is that I have no right to feel rejected. I had no right to what I wanted anyway. I wasn't going to get it, either. Several folks would've seen to that.)

The blog is nothing like that. It is not about being rejected. I can be ignored benignly and without my knowledge, hated that way, too. Rejection, though, isn't part of it unless I am the one rejecting. So it is a place that is, if not safe, under my own control.

Safety is a personal issue. Not physical safety but the feeling of safety, something most people take for granted. Somewhere in most folks is a sense of solidity beneath their feet or behind their backs or however they visualize or conceptualize it. When I look below or behind, there is nothing but the void. And that's a lot to look into from 2 a.m. until 6.

8 Comments:

Blogger dangerblond said...

How do you know that most folks have a sense of solidity beneath their feet? I believe that more people than we would like to think are hanging on by their last fingernail. Your post is cryptic, but I have a feeling that you are underestimating your accomplishments. Missed you at the party!

Thu Oct 19, 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Party? I fucking missed a PARTY?!?

Maybe it's the people I know. Maybe they're better at faking it than I am. And just maybe you and I understand some things about the world and human behavior that others don't and/or are too dense/superficial/self-satisfied to see.

If I had any recent accomplishments to estimate.......

Fri Oct 20, 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

G Bitch,
I think that you are being too hard on yourself, especially when you say,

"If I had any recent accomplishments to estimate......."

It seems to me that you do have both recent and on-going accomplishments. This blog is one of them. Surviving and keeping on going in the City that is 'Crazy Nagin-World' is another significant accomplishment. Have you not noticed how many other academics have left the city for good? Your continued work helps the students and others.

Now, on the topic of rejection, I am guessing here, but when it comes from a journal, then, although this can be painful, it should not be seen as fatal. Consider the poor, sad, ersatz-faculty members who do not even manage to submit anything for consideration by journals. They console themselves with excuses about too much teaching, service and all that. They also make excuses about how journals are biased against them and all sorts of other implausible platitudes. However, ultimately they are in a far worse position than a person who has a paper rejected. If they persist in this behavior over time, they become 'deadwood'; academic failures and ultimately the fakes of the profession. I am sure that you know of such people.

In addition, again continuing the assumption made above, rejection is a normal part of the publication process. Good journals are selective. Referees can be fools. A particular bit of work may still need tweaking. None of these things necessarily reflect badly upon the person submitting. To believe this is to run the risk of becoming one of those sad people mentioned above.

The CP

Fri Oct 20, 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

CP, my mood late yesterday, and this morning apparently, aside, and no self-insult meant, but your perception of my success as an academic is a little out of proportion to the real deal. (I was lucky the U. hired me back b/c nowadays, the entrance to a decent--not well-paid or -supported or even tenure track or semi-permanent--position is a PhD, which i do not have. With enrollment down, what's on your transcript is more and more important.

Thanks, though, for your encouragement to not get stuck in self-pity. But to be hoenst, I am thisclose to being one of those deadwood academic failures--but to explain, the only colleagues i hear the too-busy whine from is my fellow colleagues in English who teach composition. I myself have struggled, against not only my teaching load (and the students we got this time around) but the post-Kat madness and community-wide PTSD and what's going on in my own house and extended family, to pull together applications, submissions, etc. "Struggle" is the key word. I work hard to stay on top of things for my students' sake, to maintain as high a level of academic standards as i can without letting my family fall apart or become strangers to me.

It sounds like you have some deadwood in mind.

I'd like to say, though, that as a student, my most well-published and brilliant professors weren't necessarily the ones I learned much from. One i have in mind--brilliant, books, books, books to his credit, but his lectures offered little of substance and I got more from the texts and my fellow undergrads (!!!) than his course. And some grad student wrote and graded the 2 exams we had. Another "brilliant" professor couldn't relate or relate to anything that wasn't his own or part of his current research whcih we as undergrads didn't have the background for (a background he had no interest in providing). Yet another focused on one student in the class while the rest of us nodded off and wondered if he'd noticed if we all skipped the rest of the semester.

This week has ended in the weirdest way possible.

Fri Oct 20, 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

G'Bitch,
First off, I had no partiicular deadwood in mind, rather a type whose mediocrity is slowly strangling my institution.

I'm sorry to hear of your circumstance. Know this, *I* for one believe that your achievements are such that you should not feel too much rejection. You live in a difficult world. So, good luck and keep up the good work.

The CP

Sat Oct 21, 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Thanks, CP. This crisis should be over soon.

Mon Oct 23, 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger Schroeder said...

The teach/publish schizophrenia is a reflection of the illness of the institution perpetrated on its dependents.

There out to be a way to choose one or the other. Some people don't feel like they need to publish a book a year, wishing instead to focus on their students.

Others suck at teaching, and shouldn't be anywhere near their students.

Try to take a longer view of where you're headed and what you're accomplishments are.

Mon Oct 23, 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ray in New Orleans said...

G, I don't know about anybody else, but I am totally faking it. And I don't even know if I fake it very well.

Tue Oct 24, 11:49:00 AM  

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