So, had a long conversation with F., my professor, today, and it's basically all good news.
First off, he says that I can hand in my social theory paper "whenever I think it's done." Even better, I'm not going to receive an incomplete for it; it's a year-long course, so as long as I hand it in by the end of the summer, I should have no problem with the grade or my grant. Hurrah! My friend Dan was saying last night that incompletes are pretty much par for the course in grad school, but I've never done one before and I don't intend to start unless I have to. So I've given myself a deadline of the end of June; that gives me plenty of time to finish the RPG book, go on vacation with the boy, sit in on J.'s class on text processing, head to DIGRA mid-June, and still finish writing in a fairly stress-free way.
(In other news, my piece on diegetic worlds in role-playing games got in to bneuensc's forthcoming RPG anthology; it's terribly exciting, but the deadline is at summer's end which means it's going to be a very writing-oriented summer. That's not a bad thing, though, especially when it's a piece I'm as excited about as that one!)
So, second, F. has been really terrifically supportive of my academic work, even though I haven't seen much of him this semester. It's been a busy one for both of us! But he basically sat me down and told me that I should appreciate that I am an expert at reading, which I rarely think about but is really true. He said that I was a "courageous reader" who had the capability to both engage with the text immersively and critically at the same time. It was one of the nicest compliments I've received in a while! I explained to him that I think it comes from my Talmudic training, and also that I get a lot of practice. He was amused.
F. was very excited about the book chapter, and about this past weekend's conference presentation, and about the journal article I'll be completing this summer. He says that he thinks my biggest challenge is going to be sticking to my vision of the work that I want to do in the face of all the people who are going to want to make me offers to do cool things, as per the game design thing and the Arizona job this spring. It was just really reassuring to talk to someone who thinks that I won't end up as a weird homeless interdisciplinary kook, but rather that my work will be attractive to people in multiple disciplines.
In other news, my proposal for the Aesthetics of Play conference was rejected. This actually falls into the category of good news too, for two reasons. First, I don't really have the money to spend to go to Norway for four days in October and my department has already said they won't send me. But more important, I'm dealing fine with the rejection; instead of seeing it as a judgment on me and my work, I'm reacting in a much more healthy way. Hurrah for feeling good enough about myself that I can manage and accept failure! I actually talked to F. about the idea that I was proposing to speak about at the conference ("enacting compassion" in ICO - which I will elaborate on at some point if anyone cares) and he thought it was sufficiently interesting that he's going out to buy the game. I think it was just the wrong idea for the conference, and also they got three times as many proposals as they could accept. No biggie; I'll find a better venue to present that idea if it turns out to be something workable and worthwhile.
God, it feels good not to be so self-hating that any rejection feels like crushing death.
God, it feels good not to be waking up at 5am in a panic over how I'm going to get my paper done.
I'm about to go experience just how good the sunshine outside feels. I deserve a little celebration.