Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dr. Me

Of course my defense was a fairly low key conversation about my writing, my future plans, daffodils, the sad state of affairs with poetry book publishing (the only way you can get a book deal is if you enter a contest for $25 and hope you win the lottery of a lottery of a lottery).

This isn't a pithy post--it's all so surreal and subdued. I think I'd feel different if the defense came with a book contract (that will INDEED be a happy-naked-dance-through-downtown-with-chocolate-sauce-glistening-on-my-hairy-chest day). There are some very important structural changes which need to happen in the memoir, some narrative tension and pressure that needs to be pushed a bit more--as well as some smoothing out between the various hybrid sections--and this could take a few weeks; my plan is June 1, however, and then on to publishers. I think it'll be a little hard to get back into the rhythm of the book, but I need to do it now. The poetry manuscript needs some trimming, but that won't take more than a day or a weekend I think--I just wish that darn thing would at least be a finalist somewhere.

9 years of grad school, straight. 8 years of teaching. 3,527 books read. 104 classes taken. 1 million stress-filled evenings. But I did not go to grad school for anything other than to work on my writing and leave a solid and confident writer, and I've done that. The next book project starts late this summer, and it'll be set in Oklahoma.

This post is almost as bad as the end to Battlestar Gallactica. Seriously. Could that switch directions any more suddenly, cover things any more quickly (or completely omit them), and confusedly end--all with tears in my eyes? I need a BSG toaster.


Tessa at Blunders with shoots, blossoms 'n roots said...

Well, the good news is it's spring! A time for new beginnings- right? Dido on BG, I was left with a big 'What the hell?' kind-of reaction- totally disenchanted!

Gardeness said...

Oh dear, I never watched BSG. I'll need to consult my sister. Breathe.

Susan Tomlinson said...

Congratulations are in order, Dr. Vogt! Many felicitations.

It is normal to feel let down. The doctorate is mostly a long, hard slog, and don't feel any different.

But the truth is, you are different. You've grown in ways that don't seem obvious right now, and might not seem obvious for a long time. It's there, though. Trust me on this.

Well done.

our friend Ben said...

Congratulations, Dr. B.!!! Well done indeed. Hooray!!!!

mr_subjunctive said...

1) I was wondering when you were going to get around to having a comment on BSG. It didn't seem like you to just let it go by without saying something.

2) W/r/t "happy naked dance," etc.: that was vivid.

3) I'm curious about how you manage to squeeze 2700 years' worth of stressful evenings into nine years. Do you delegate the stress or something? It seems like that kind of stress compression would be worth something if it were transferable. In which case you're totally in the wrong line of work.

4) Are we going to have to call you Dr. Vogt all the time now?

Barbee' said...

Here! Here! Congratulations to you! Whew. Thanks for telling us about it.

Victoria Summerley said...

Many, many congratulations, Dr Vogt. May I recommend a bottle of champagne?

Craig @ Ellis Hollow said...

Congrats Dr. V. My wife has her PhD, though in an entirely different field. But I suspect that the ordeal is not much different.

At work, I'm usually the last person our grad student see before they defend. Somehow or other, it always seems that it involves an lcd projector, and I'm the one who hands them out. What did they do back in the day? I always tell them before they leave that there will be no one in the room smarter than they are. They almost always come back with big smiles on their faces that it's finally done.

I hope you had time for one of those smiles.

Town Mouse said...

Ha, you lucky Dr. When I had my defense, two dueling professors tried to make the other one look bad by making me look bad. The other 3 managed to pass me somehow.

Anyway, congrats and have fun!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Tessa--No series I've ever loved has ended well. However, my grad school series is ending well. Thanks!
Gardeness--Never watched BSG? Oh my, I can't say anything....
Susan--Well then, I look forward to when it hits me, whenever that may be. Sooner I hope, or, I suppose, when I most need it.
OFB--Merci buckets!
Mr S--1) I had those whole big deconstrunctionist post set to go, but I scrapped it.
2) Glad I could help
3) I am possibly in the wrong line of work. I should be making diamonds with all that stress compression.
4) Yes. Especially in the most intimate moments.
Barbee--Thank you for the congrats!
Victoria--I had some pizza and rolos. I've been eating far too much of both lately.
Craig--I was bouncing through the halls, partly with joy, partly a dizzy exhaustion. I told strangers I just passed my defense. Don't kow if I'm the smartest one in the room, but I do feel like I can at leat hold my own now!
TM--Oh my, that sounds awful! I've heard of such petty things before, and that's just a travesty. No, it's stupid.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Congratulations! At least you got to see BSG. Our cable is so lame, we don't get that channel. (I'm also miffed we don't get BBC America.) I'm impressed at your tally of books & classes. I've never even thought about trying to count all mine (much less even remember them now). Welcome to the real world (?).

Jehanne Dubrow said...

Congratulations, doctah! I remember feeling the same way you did last year at this time. The defense has none of that pomp and circumstance, which we like to imagine it will have--it's just a quiet chat about writing in some professor's office on a random day. But, now it's over, and you can force everyone to call you Dr. Vogt, which has quite a ring to it. And, as for the gloom and doom, all the rest of us know that your books are going to be accepted any day. There's no doubt in my mind.

themanicgardener said...

Congratulations, Dr. Vogt! I think you should absolutely insist on your title--after all, you earned it.

Besides, it will afford you countless opportunities to educate the uninformed amongst us about the meaning of "Doctor" as a title, and how it differs from "Professor." If you want to brush up, check out Ross's struggles in this regard in Friends--while we're visiting pop culture, that is.



Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I'm so happy for you on the new book project, and I'm to understand that you are now a Dr.? Woo-Hoo. If I can help with any Oklahoma background, please let me know. Did I ever tell you I wrote three books? Nah, they didn't sell, but I've got them in the drawer. Perhaps someday.~~Dee

christopher higgs said...

Congratulations, Ben! May the tenure track find you quickly and easily.

And I agree with you re: BSG -- what a great big letdown the entire final season turned out to be, especially the last few episodes. Could be a good teaching resource, though, if you wanted to show students how to take a great premise and ruin it.

Frances said...

Hi Benjamin, Dr. Benjamin, although I like Dr. Me too. Many hugs, pats and both cheek kisses for sticking in there through the ups and downs. You do seem pretty low key. Is it like so many things, the anticipation is better than the event itself? Surely not. Maybe you are still numb. So sorry for your BSG letdown. Personally, original Star Trek tops all. Followed by X Files, with an equally stupid ending. Hoping 24 can do better when the time comes. I could write better stuff than some of it. You definitely could.

Benjamin Vogt said...

MMD--I made up some of those numbers, but the book total sure feels close to me. Though it isn't. More like a couple hundred. I can't beleive you don't get scifi! Or, SyFy as it's being rebranded.
Jehanne--Oh you're too kind. Seriously. :) I need to get that memoir sent out by June. Dr. Vogt. Say it with me--very sexy if I do say so myself.
Kate--Ah, thank you. Maybe Professor Vogt has a better ring to it....
Dee--What were your books on? OK? I appreciate the offer--field work is coming this fall to a state near you (or one you're in).
Chris--Oh, may the tenure track wait a few years. The wife must first finish her degree. Maybe by then the market will be better? BSG was a letdown the last season, very true--I'd love to teach a whole BSG-themed class. Hope OSU is treating you well!
Frances--Still numb, and now overwhlemed with reading books for a contest, grading papers, PhD forms.... Personal Star Trek tops all? Oh my no no no. X-Files was great until the sexy guy who looks like me left.

Amanda B. said...

Yay! I am so excited for you!! I seriously can not wait to buy your book. It will happen!!! :)

Layanee said...

I looked up the word 'tenacity' today and there, right there in the definition, was the name Benjamin Vogt. Congrats Dr. and now, read a book for fun!

Benjamin Vogt said...

M--But how old will you be? Will you need glasses by then? Alas.
L--What dictionary are YOU reading? Next year my name will be by the entry "Zzzzz."

Gillian Lee said...

CONGRATS!! I look forward to hearing about the wonderful things you will do as "Doctor."

Pam said...

Congrats! It'll all hit you in a few months - you'll be somewhere strange, like in line at the grocery store or pumping gas - and it'll hit you that you have your PhD. You'll most likely smile a smile that no one arounds you will understand (and of course they will think that you are up to something). And, of course, you are!

Layanee said...

I almost always type pH d just because I type pH so often. Thought you would find that funny and you are also a pH d!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Gillian Lee--Thank you. Wonderful things are already happening, I just don't know about them yet.
Pam--I like that! Ha. I'm sure that'll be true. I have so very much to come down from.
Layanee--I wonder what my acidity is. My students think it's 2 I bet.