What Am I Working on?
Done is Better than Perfect
Because I always have a to do list here it is: (I always start with things that I’ve already done because it makes me feel better and done is so much better than perfect).
- Dissertation Prospectus Defense: DONE
- Chapter One of Diss. On Media depictions of Hillsville Shootout: DONE (with edits impending)
- Society for the Study of Southern Literature presentation in Boston: ““Educate or Exterminate” the ‘Brave Mountaineer’: Remembering the Allen Ballads from the 1912 Hillsville Courthouse Shootout”: DONE
- Keynote talk at Appalachian State University’s Writing Across Institutions entitled “History in the Making: Creating Meaningful Public Rhetoric Pedagogy”: DONE
- Song and Dance at 4Cs on my first chapter of my diss. titled “’The Many Untruths’:
Newspaper Representations of the Hillsville, VA Courthouse Shootout of 1912”: DONE
Now to do:
Write RSA presentation on Hillbilly Gangsters as it pertains to the 1912 Hillsville Shootout
- Have second chapter of dissertation on the Hillsville Allen ballads done by the end of May
- Teach Women in Literature course focusing on gender in Southern and Appalachian literature during the summer
- Continue work on place-based Composition article for publication (cue the Lamb chop song that never ends song with this last article)
So in addition to these things, I’ve also been teaching an LGBT themed 102 course with Michael Baumann this semester. This course has been AMAZING to teach. We had four film screenings, two community panels (one with U of L faculty and another with local Louisville LGBT activists), and linked our course with the William-Nichols LGBT archives in the library (the first classes to ever do so). Michael and I are both thinking about how we can incorporate more community engagement in the class next year and how to move forward with it. It’s been tremendously rewarding in all sorts of ways and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Stop the Glorification of Busy
Despite all these academic endeavors, I think the biggest thing I’ve had to learn not only this semester, but also the past three years is to STOP STOP STOP feeling like I have to be “working on” something all the time. In Looking, the main character, Patrick, has a sticker on his MacBook that reads, “Never Not Working.” I think that we, as academics, always feel a sense of guilt that goes along with this statement (and it’s also covered really good in How to Build A Life In the Humanities in a chapter appropriately titled, “Guilt”). I’ve learned to enjoy life. I enjoy planting a garden, enjoy traveling to Cincinnati to see my boyfriend, enjoy reading something that isn’t related to school, enjoy running (well, sometimes), enjoy a drag show at the local gay club, etc. I’ve learned that the academy is most certainly NOT my all of my life and that I have to take time for self care. It’s great and I’d highly recommend it.
A Shameless Plug
One of the biggest and best developments of this semester regarding self care has been going to the LGBT writer’s group that Laura Teteault organized for the Writing Center. It has made me aware of how much I’ve missed writing. I need to update my online writing blog (found here) and would REALLY like to attempt to get some things out there published.
Onward and Upward
I’m looking forward to working on all these projects and continuing to do what I really love: learning, thinking, writing, teaching, and growing.
Travis A. Rountree is a third year Doctoral Candidate. He was most recently the recipient of the Barker Travel Endowment for Southern Literature at U of L. This semester he finishes out his tenure on the Bedford/St. Martin’s New Scholars Advisory Committee as well as serving as one of the Assistant Directors of Composition at U of L. His dissertation is on the representations of public rhetoric surrounding the 1912 Hillsville, Virginia Courthouse Shootout. He’s excited to be elected to be on the Steering Committee for the Appalachian Studies Association this year.