Let’s see…last time I posted, I was preparing for the organizational meeting. I had put posters up around campus, various professors had told me they were spreading the word, and an announcement was put on the English department’s Facebook page. I still wasn’t confident anyone would show.
The interesting thing is that although the meeting wasn’t attended well, I did have interest. I received emails from some students that couldn’t attend the meeting, but wanted to participate, so there you are! The reading couldn’t be scheduled during the organizational meeting, but I had interest. I was thrilled.
My friend/mentor/former professor was at the meeting, and afterwards we discussed how the project could be reorganized and retooled to be more successful. We spoke at length about giving it a home in the English department, where it could grow organically. I suggested we start there, then next semester invite the Drama department, next time invite History; the project would grow through accretion, like a snowball. In order to root the project in the English department, we decided to request a meeting with another of my former professors (and thesis advisors) to get her input. After much back and forth about a date and time (getting the three of us together is like herding cats), we had a very productive meeting over a nice dinner and glasses of wine. (These are the best meetings, as we all know.)
In a nutshell, we brainstormed and suggested and discussed and considered, and in the end, came up with what might be the best plan yet. I won’t reveal what it is right now, as I am waiting to meet with still another faculty member who may hold the key to getting the project off the ground. Once more, I find myself sitting with fingers crossed, anxiously waiting to see what will happen next.
What I’m learning from all of this is resilience. I believe in this project, and luckily, I have others that do, too. Their support is invaluable, and their input has helped drive me forward. It comes down to me, though, to gather the courage to email and nudge, to go introduce myself, shake hands, and sell my idea. It takes time and effort, but the reward will come in the enjoyment of the reading and feeling of accomplishment when this actually happens.
I’ve also been reflecting on the process as a whole. Interestingly enough, it seems resilience and determination are key, not necessarily what you know and the level of degree you hold. I could have a PhD, but if I don’t have the desire to succeed, to submit paper proposals and put together projects, no one will advance me of their own accord. With any luck, I’ll find just the right mix of knowledge and determination to help me earn a little spot in the conversation. I know it’s likely I’ll never break new ground in early modern studies or be considered an expert, but being seen as making a small yet viable contribution to my field is enough for me.
To be continued…