beer and dilettantisme

Right now, I’m listening to jazz and drinking (quality, Michigan-made) beer. Don’t judge me.

I feel the need to state the obvious: I haven’t written a blog post in a while.

But I have a good reason: I’ve been editing. Correction: WE have been editing. My editor is a wonderful soul, with whom I share many good, hearty laughs, mostly at the expense of my own prose. I look forward to our conversations, and I’ll miss them when we move into production of the book. I think I might call her while I’m finishing the draft of book two, just because I like her.

Production of the book. Who knew? Who ever would have thought, back when I drafted the thing in three weeks, that I’d have an editor and an agent and a book? I asked her, the other day, what the rest of this process would look like. Apparently my manuscript will be queued for line editing (even though she and I are both killer line editors, I’m sure there will be something) at the same time it goes into cover design.

Cover design, people. My editor says this is the moment when writers lose their shit, and I’m sort of worried that I’ll do just that. I mean, I’m a visual person. I care about negative space and color theory and whatnot.

Here’s the thing. Writers don’t write because they want to shove their writing into the proverbial shoebox under the bed. We write because we want people to read our prose (once it’s been edited). We write because we feel like we have something to communicate.

It’s like any other medium, really. For example, I spent three years in art school, learning how to communicate visually, and there are still times when that method is the best—hence the worry that I might lose my shit in cover design phase. Another example: I like to play loud instruments, and there are times when loud instruments say more than my prose ever could. Since finals week—a product of my marvelous day job—is coming to an end, I fantasize about busting out those loud instruments and making noise. I probably still remember how to play, right?

It’s the curse of the creative type, the notion of being a dilettante. I posted something on my personal FB page a while back: “I may or may not be a dilettante.” Look it up if you don’t know it. It may or may not describe me.

In other news, and since I’m clearly a dilettante, I’ve been thinking about two new research projects. One takes up the subject of “contingent labor,” whatever the hell that means at the university level, a category in which I fall (I’m a union member!) but resist labeling that way. Another takes up the idea of medical consent—when you sign that consent form to give your legal consent, are you also giving genuine consent? Over time and through my Annoying and Somewhat Tragic Medical Drama, I’ve signed that form approximately 1,582 times, so I’m interested. Thoughts?

Tweet me. FB me. Reply here. For God’s sake, just respond. 🙂

Here’s a picture, from my Instagram, of about a qaurter of my summer reading list. You can respond to that, too.


Published by kbirdsall

I write fiction, short essays, and the occasional academic article. I teach writing at a large university somewhere in the Midwest.

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