Wednesday, December 26, 2012


So, I am submerging myself in a pool of job postings. It's not a sea, really, because there aren't all that many, but it's definitely a pool. Right now, I'm doing my best to find gainful employment as a musicologist in Washington, DC, because damnit I like living in one place at a time, and damnit I like living in the same apartment as my boyfriend instead of 3,000 miles away in a different time zone. As all you academics out there know, this locational specificity shrinks the pool.

First on the Washington-area docket is the Smithsonian postdoc application. I haven't the foggiest idea whether this is competitive and cutthroat or unknown and therefore relatively gettable. All I know is that once I navigated the labyrinthine web of dead links and unfortunate font choices that is the SI website, I found some amazing collections and fascinating-looking scholars (their research looks fascinating, that is) that/who seem like they could be really helpful with my next book project. Fingers crossed.

Next, paid summer internship at the Library of Congress. Also awesome stuff, awesome people, but sadly limited to just the summer. Le sigh.

After that, I think it's adjunctville for a while. I haven't finished looking for other academic things to apply to, not by half, but I need to get into the adjunct market as soon as I can to make sure I'm on everybody's list for someone to hire to teach anything and everything related to music, theat-er/re, comedy, teh gay, gender, writing, and soup. I'd love to teach a "Why is Soup so Awesome?" class. That would be delicious.

And then, non-academic jobs. There are lots of those in DC, comparatively speaking; we have an economy there. Hooray for local pork? Maybe teaching music lessons after school somewhere? Maybe the vegan bakery is hiring? Maybe a library needs a shelver or a circulation desk worker, or a used bookstore needs an anything, or a local theater needs an inexperienced dramaturg(e). Temporary work is fine, and any of these could lead somewhere fun eventually, or be fun for a while. Yes, boyfriend, I know I need to further my career; don't worry. I am definitely going to work on doing that even if it isn't my job. Publishing my work, presenting at conferences, editing the dissertation into a book, etc.

I don't need to reassure my father; he doesn't read the internet.

If any of my lovely internet friends knows anything about work I could do in DC, preferably in the musicological sphere, let me know. After the academic job deadlines I know about pass (mostly January 7th and 15th), I'll be looking for more things to apply to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The only thing keeping me from tearing my hair out while I grade is Ella singing Cole Porter. Here, you can keep your hair too:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bright spots

So, grading is happening. You know what feels great? When a student who resisted your advice for weeks (months?) and who rolled her eyes constantly and who was certain she had nothing to learn but then later despairs and becomes intensely frustrated by her own work turns in a damn good senior thesis because she actually absorbed what you were saying and used the sources you recommended and ended up really caring about what she was writing and put all that research toward her own ideas.

It's nice to remember that I chose this field because I love teaching. Sometimes they learn, and sometimes you can see that they learned because of what you did for/to/with them. That's what it's for, right?

Maybe she's just sucking up to the guy grading her, and doing it really well. She did cite my dissertation. But I choose to believe that she's actually learning and thinking and growing. And I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people.

Wait, that wasn't what I believe. That was a quote from The Book of Mormon. Close enough. That's my grading soundtrack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dead ends

My youngest cousin has graduated from college. He finished school and moved home, at loose ends for a while, trying to become an environmental journalist in an environment hostile to (print) journalists. He managed to get an internship at the Sierra Club in San Francisco, CA, which I believe he will start soon. Unless he's already started. I'm excited for him, and I can't wait to see what he does with his adult life.

My youngest cousin is from Newtown, CT. He has an amazing adult life in front of him, because he was not shot and killed when he was five, or six, or seven. He went through his entire childhood without once being brutally murdered for no apparent reason by a total stranger. I hope he goes through his entire adulthood the same way.

My second youngest cousin is his brother, also from Newtown, CT. He has been an adult for some years now, and is happily living in New York with his girlfriend. I don't know quite what he does, since he's in the big blank world that I do not understand called Business (or is it called Finance? Banking?), but he has an independent, adult life that he enjoys, because, as a child, he was not brutally murdered for no apparent reason by a total stranger.

Their parents, my aunt and uncle, still live in Newtown, CT. My aunt teaches at Sacred Heart, and gave a final exam today before she knew how bad things were. My uncle is a pediatric pulmonologist at Danbury Hospital. According to my aunt, he went to the hospital as part of their emergency response team, but they didn't have much to do. Because there weren't wounded people, for the most part. The children and the adults who were shot were nearly all dead before they could be taken to the hospital.

Before today, Newtown, CT was unheard of. The center of town in Newtown is the flagpole. There are more UCLA undergraduates than there are residents of Newtown. Now, Newtown is on the map,  because children died there, violently, needlessly.

Do you know who else lives in Newtown, CT? Suzanne Collins. She's the author of the Hunger Games trilogy. You know, those books about children dying violently, needlessly. It's not ironic, but it's eerie. I can't help but think of those fictional children, since I don't know the names or faces of any of the real children.

This isn't any kind of reasoned argument. This is a list of statements, because I am beyond thinking. Children are dead. Adults are dead, at least some of whom died trying to protect those children. None of this had to happen. All of it did happen.

I talked about weeping blood in my last post. I would cry tears of blood every day for the rest of my life if I could undo this. Painful, burning tears. That would be no price at all to pay.

I can't think of anything else to say. Zilpha Keatley Snyder wrote the Green Sky trilogy over thirty years ago. These children died before they were old enough to read it. That breaks my heart. Read it, please, to your children, or to any children you know. Teach them about corrosive violence. If they live long enough to hear you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Moving forward

So, the dissertation is (for now) done. That means it's time to move into job application world for the next few days, until the students turn in their last senior thesis drafts on Friday, and I go back into grading world. Since job applications are so soul sucking and demoralizing, I'm jumping at the chance to work in any other way, and I'm actually looking forward to grading world. Sad, isn't it? Right now I'm enthusiastically helping a former student with grad school applications because I'd rather help ease her soul-sucking demoralization than leap headlong into my own.

The next job application is pretty easy, since it's just a slightly different version of the only one I've done so far, a postdoc teaching first-year writing. The one after that is incredibly easy, since it's just emailing a CV. Once those are done, however, it's full-tilt musicology job applications until I weep blood.

Okay, that's obviously a melodramatic presentation of my situation. I have actually wept blood before, on three occasions (eye surgery is soooo not fun), and this will be far less physically uncomfortable. However, I think I would prefer physical pain and discomfort to this process. I'm not particularly good at competition or at telling people why they should want me. I'm much better at telling other people why they're awesome, and at coping with pain. Not really related skills normally, but both reasons why I don't wanna do this.

Anyway, time to dive in. Wish me luck. Listening to Turn of the Screw is going to keep me focused on the task, I hope, and not distract me like all the Audra McDonald I just listened to...

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Yesterday, at 12:40 PM Eastern Standard Time, I submitted my dissertation to my committee. It feels very strange to be done with it. I celebrated by unpacking the kitchen stuff in the new apartment.

That's all I've got right now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Changing planes

Just a quick hit to let y'all know that I have moved to DC. Thanks to heroic efforts by the boyfriend and some of the greatest friends in the world, my move out of the old place was a snap and my move into the new place is well underway and seems easily within reach—I got to skip the moving to Arlington step in my moving progression!

Right now I'm sitting in the delightful Coffy CafĂ© a few blocks from my lovely new home, grading students' rough drafts of their senior theses. I had to take a break to announce my arrival because Microsoft Word crashed just as I was saving one student's comments and edits and I got very irritated. I regraded her, and am about to start the next, because the sooner I finish the sooner I get to go to go to Smoke and Barrel for teatime lunch!

I'll post for real once the grading and dissertation are done.