My goal when I started blogging was to write two posts per week. I think it is safe to say that I have not met that goal lately. We have been a bit short staffed at work, and I have been putting in long hours both in the office and at home just to keep up. I have also had to resign myself to the fact that, when keeping up is your goal, perfection cannot be. So the past month has been the month where I have been learning to be content with what is possible.
I am painfully aware of the fact that I have not met my goal with turning my dissertation into my book. I have to remind myself that this is not because of laziness. Rather, the opposite! It owes to the fact that, as my psychiatrist put it, I “tend to greatly overestimate my own capacities.” I have a hard time saying “No” to good opportunities.
I was asked to submit a paper for the Sophia Institute. I was also contacted to author a chapter on Bulgakov and Karl Barth for a book that will be published by a rather prestigious press. I don’t want to jinx anything by saying its name, but it rhymes with “Boxford.” My point is not to brag, because, being somewhat superstitious about that sort of thing, I am convinced that bragging would mean something terrible would happen to prevent me from writing the chapter. Or worse, I would write it, and it would suck. (Like most academics, I am convinced that at any moment my dissertation committee will come calling and say, “David, we have discovered you are a complete hack. You have no business holding this doctorate. So we are going to take it back.”) My point is to explain why some opportunities are too good to pass up. (I should also add that the editor had probably never heard of me before. So thank you, Brandon Gallaher, for putting in the good word.)
Thankfully, I am co-authoring this Barth-Bulgakov chapter with Josh Davis, who not only knows Barth better than me, but is also much smarter than me. That chapter is not due until next August. But hammering out the proposal with Josh also took some time. It delayed me finishing my chapter on Jonathan Edwards when I had planned (March). Fortunately, the chapter is not due until August, and the argument seems to be coming together like I planned. So I feel good about it.
What that means is that, during my busy summer months, when I will be working with academic staff and faculty at Vanderbilt Summer Academy*, my posts will not be as frequent as I would like. I need to prioritize. I need to finish this chapter on Edwards and try to get back on track with the book. I love blogging. I love the (virtual) friendships it has helped me to form, and the way those relationships have shaped my own thinking. But the book matters most right now.
*The “Please Don’t Fire Me” Disclaimer: The work that I do as an independent scholar has nothing to do with Vanderbilt University or Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Thanks in advance for not firing or suing me.