Jan. 30th, 2013

gillpolack: (Default)
Today I woke up and thought "There's less fire in the air." I checked the fire service's website and the fires are slowly blinking out. There are only four now that affect Canberra. If we don't get any new ones, then I might be able to walk outside on Saturday.

The other thing I'm looking forward to is being less tired. Constant allergies make one constantly sleepy.

Anyhow, I could tell there was less fire in the air from late last night, for I did a normal evening's work and then made myself a list for today. I've only crossed two things off my today's list so far, for life is still slow, but I'm getting there.

What else is happening to me? Nothing, much. I'm still very much Schroedinger's Gillian and no end of this state is in sight. The difference between me before the PhD and after the PhD is that I have more academic publications and exposure now...and I feel as if I ought t be able to get a fulltime job, if only there were fulltime jobs to get. Which there aren't.

I checked my CV yesterday, and it looks respectable, I think. I'm tempted to ask friends who sit on interview panels if they would have a quick look and tell me what I'm doing wrong or missing. I know I'm missing undergrad teaching and that so far 20+ years of varied other teaching is not sufficient to make up for this, but there's nothing I can do about that. Every year I apply for sessional teaching at local unis, and every year they employ their current students for the job (which makes sense, for I am more expensive than their current students, since I have a PhD and the pay rates are higher for PhDs) and so I continue teaching a gorgeous variety of subjects to a range of people at a range of levels and it continues to be not enough to get me a job in a time of few jobs. When I ask more experienced people who know me well "What am I doing wrong?" the answer is "Nothing."

I shall continue to try for more publications and I shall continue to apply for the very few jobs. All I need is one job I want that wants me, after all.
gillpolack: (Default)
My thought for the day is that people carry their own experiences around with them everywhere. It shows in the oddest places. The Aurealis reading, for instance, has more than one example of a writer who knows one country and is writing about another in terms that better fit his/her country of origin. If anyone wants to me explore the specific books that do this and talk about their approaches and how that prior knowledge changes the story, ask me after the finalists are announced, which is when I can talk about individual books.

In the meantime, though, this matches exactly what I've found with writers who use history in their work. Those who are writing solely using instinct or instinct aided by limited research aren't questioning what they 'know' about the world from their life experience. This means that, when there is a gap in knowledge it is filled with prior understanding. When there's a gap in understanding, it's filled using assumptions based on...a lot of stuff.

I know this is nothing new. It just stared at me rather starkly today and reminded me that a good writer is someone who questions widely and deeply. It's not how many books a writer reads that counts (although being widely read helps a lot, for it pushes one into that self-questioning) it's how much they actually understand of what's around them, so that they can understand how what they already know affects the world of their novel. And because it's staring me in the face and reminding me that I have (of course) unquestioned assumptions that feed into my fiction) I'm wondering if anyone knows books by someone who has studied this in relation to writers?

I suspect there's not much technical analysis of this out there, because we tend to discuss writers as individuals and this is a combination of a craft question and a culture question - and there aren't that many scholars who tackle that kind of thing. I know [personal profile] fjm does this in some of her work, and there are others, but I'm missing most of them. This means, of course, I'm missing a whole branch of literature. In which case - more to learn!

Can anyone advise?

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