Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A Plan

I ran off to the local library today with an overly ambitious agenda. Tuesday afternoons are my last chance to get a big chunk of work done until the weekend, so I tend to pack in a lot. I wouldn't mind making some money to buy myself a bit more babysitting time. Instead of adjuncting this semester, I am working on academic and mainstream articles. The academic stuff does not pay (but is necessary if I want to work in the future), and the non-academic stuff won’t pay for a while.

I do have a plan. As I write on the politics of parenthood, I’m reading the recent books on this topic. If I quickly punch out reviews of those books for local papers and newspapers, maybe I can scare up some spare change. I heard that the Village Voice pays well, so I pitched them some ideas last night.

I have no idea what I’m doing. How do you write a pitch letter? You mean you don’t send them a completed draft first? How do you figure out who to send things to? I wish that the lines between academic and popular writing weren’t so rigid. It might improve academic writing; others have pointed out the need for that. It also could supplement the income of graduate students and professors.

I just started a new book on parent politics, The Mommy Myth. It was placed prominently in the local Borders, so the publishers must be pushing it. Its premise is that women are oppressed by media portrayals of perfecting parenting. I have railed against the perfect parenting books, but I wouldn’t say they oppress me. I just don’t read them. The authors seem particularly sensitive, because they even have problems with fluffy articles on celebrity parents. Also, the writing sucks, which oppresses me more than articles on Kathy Lee Gifford.

Actually, this book is so unbalanced and hysterical that I’m thinking about returning it to Borders, after I skewer it. I don’t want to encourage the authors to write more.

Read This

The Invisible Adjunct, Tim Burke, and Crooked Timber have an interesting conversation going on about modern historians making the subject dull. These posts are inspired by Simon Schama who says that "modern-day historians - with a few notable exceptions - have lost the ability to inspire the public with tales of the past in the same way as their predecessors." I would level the same charges against academics in other disciplines, as well.

Joanne Jacobs had a post a couple of days ago on the educational frenzy among middle class parents in New York City. I wrote about it briefly here, here, and here. I removed myself from that scene, because I thought we were going to move to the suburbs. Since that it looking less likely, I'm going to have to jump in with the sharks again.

Loved this post by John Holbo guest blogging at CT about his love of academic blogs and Lileks.

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