Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Herding Ducks

When Friend was writing her now-submitted paper, she spoke of how her ducks weren't all in a row and the days she spent chasing the winged creatures around the pond. I found myself muttering about the darn ducks today as I attempted to write my current paper.

It's an altogether satisfying experience for me now. I'm not aiming very high, though the journals I have in mind have rejected me before. And I'm not nearly so intimidated by the process as I was in grad school. I've read a lot more. I write a lot better. Somehow the information flows and I can put paragraphs together. I see figures in my head. I rather like the feeling.

But my work involves piecing things together. And I decided to identify a single duck and chase it determinedly until I capture the little sucker and create a figure, write the methods, then put together my results/discussion paragraphs. (Bless journals that combine the sections.) I caught a single one yesterday. Then I spent today chasing another. But this duck isn't as pretty as I'd like. And while I can speculate on why his feathered body looks different than I expected, I don't even know how to get the data that would prove my point. So he keeps slipping out of the row despite my best efforts to contain him.

So I moved on to another one this evening. An easy one - located close to the row, pretty slow, very obvious. Which is a balm for my poor ego. The longer I think about this paper, the better the flow and the more giddy I get.

Before I get too self-congratulatory, I am to page Dr. Icing tomorrow to discuss the ready-to-submit paper. It's also quite good and all the other co-authors (save Dr. Icing and the Penguin) have said lovely things about it. But I'm very concerned that I'll be told to cease and desist even though I believe this work is considerably different than what Penguin is using. I think.

It will, however, crush my meager will to work if those ducks - so neatly lined and wrapped up in a pdf file ready for peer review - are scattered by a mentor who has done very little for my work here. Perhaps you should brace yourself for some whining.

(The picture isn't really relevant. I just was going through Chicago photos and I rather liked this one. It does have water, I guess. And ducks like water. So... I don't know.)

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