The textbook in which my chapter will appear is in final pre-production, scheduled to be in print sometime in March. I check on the progress when I'm feeling badly about myself and it always cheers me to see my name next to Boss's under the title I selected for the text and figures I created. I'm eager to receive my copy - to place it carefully on a bookshelf so I have more than a webpage to smile over. I can pick up an actual, precious book with real pages and see what I wrote and how it might fit with the other selections.
I recall filling in a submission form some time ago, still surprised over the reaction to a post I wrote for another blogger (I remember who but am not sure I should name her) when she asked about my awful defense experience and how I moved through and past the feelings surrounding it. The answer is that I pretended it didn't happen whenever possible - that I was smart and good enough to graduate easily and smoothly rather than acknowledging that I struggled mightily. But telling the truth suddenly appealed. I recall being in grad school and hearing that a more senior student scored a 22 on an exam and still got a B in the class. People stumble, I thought, feeling immeasurably relieved. It doesn't indicate stupidity or incompetence. It means people are human - we screw up and, hopefully, we move on.
So after receiving comments and emails, I decided it might be an experience of mine that was important. The post, entitled Indefensible, took me a couple hours to write but the words and memories flowed easily. I continue to nod over some comments it receives over time, though I haven't read what I wrote lately. I'm thrilled to report that I'll get to edit it because it's been selected to join other posts in the 2nd Science Blogging Anthology! I very much wanted it to go in - it sucked to live through those months and I was surprised at how much better I felt when I wrote it all out - and am truly honored and pleased that it got through the judging process when so many other wonderful pieces were available.
If you haven't already, please check out the inclusive list of the submissions. There's really good stuff to read there. If given the opportunity for an acceptance speech for this honor, I would - wiping my eyes delicately and trying to avoid sneezing on the microphone - thank you all for giving me a space where I feel comfortable. When I started writing here, I wrote and edited very carefully. I read each post out loud and tried so hard to sound smart and together and interesting. Over time, I've drifted into being myself. Encouraging all of you to know me has been easy because some of you have been so generous with support and encouragement and friendship. I wondered before I pressed publish on that post what people would think of me. I also knew that it would be OK. It turned out to be rather good and now I'm very pleased. So yay! And thanks! And now I can soothe myself with two real books when journal resubmissions and unscored grant applications become too depressing.