Friday, March 28, 2008

Pro-crastination

so i have to do revisions to this article that i initially wrote over three years ago. eh, academic presses are slow. i understand that the lag is not the fault of the editors. still, after three years it's hard to cast my mind back to where it needs to be in order to revise it properly. so i have been putting it off. and off and off and off.

i printed out the paper and the editors' comments back in early december, when they first got in touch with the green light from the press. then i stacked four other projects on top of it, just so i wouldn't have to look at it. but it turns out it's not the visual that matters; it's the sound. the paper scolds me in the middle of the night, it yells at me when i shuffle through other stuff on my desk, and it takes over my mouth in conversations. seriously: a student of mine asked recently what i was up to over the weekend. i named a few things, then said casually, to see whether i could trick myself into it, "oh, and there's this paper i have to revise..." she didn't miss a beat. "that's not the same paper you were talking about last time we met, is it?" oh god. really? "the one you were working on before you went to switzerland?" really? i believe i even mentioned this article in a previous blog, the one about ironing. it's all part of a well-intentioned if desperate attempt to embarrass myself into doing it. and yet?

and yet, i have become the person i hate. oh, i know that person very well; i'm trying to motivate her to contribute to a collection of essays that i'm putting together. it's karmic. as an editor, all i want is to know where the paper is at, how it's developing, how the revisions are coming along. i write politely, then curtly, then i facebook her. when she still doesn't write back, i key an awful, smarmy email that is really a threat: "i know that my last few notes to you have gone unanswered. i promise that if you don't respond to this one we'll stop harassing you about this collection. but...."

that's my outbox. over in my inbox -- well, i can't really say what's going on in my email inbox, 'cause as of this week, having missed a deadline of 7 january, and another of 10 february, and a personally-imposed-absolutely-cannot-be-broken deadline of 29 february, then easter weekend, when for sure-for sure i'd do it, i have actually begun to avoid my email. i simply opened a gmail account with an address the editors don't have, and i conduct my business there.

of course, there is an upside to all this procrastination. you wouldn't believe how many other things i've got accomplished. it's not just that the house is vacuumed and the shredding up to date. no, this procrastination is much worse than the usual make a pot of tea and ensure all the pencils are sharpened. this week alone, i have organized a multi-day symposium for 35 people, replenished a steering committee of 12, taken on a special job for the UofA president, organized a commemoration for the tenth anniversary of the vriend vs alberta decision -- and that's just the work. i've been so abject that i've actually looked into my finances, an endeavour that reliably gives me a pain right ... here. i've renewed magazine subscriptions, subscribed to "stuff white people like," repotted an ailing jade plant, mailed a change of address form to alberta health care, phoned my dentist, emailed my trainer, streamlined my facebook groups, and filed my taxes.

and i've caught up on my blog.

now what??

3 comments:

Darren James Harkness said...

Well, you know, it's getting awful close to gardening season...

Roberta said...

I think maybe you should just do the darn thing and get it over with :-)

s.h.mom

rw said...

quit blogging and play scrabulous with me. your procrastination is getting in the way of my procrastination.