Shifting stories

This year was supposed to be a year which was research-centred for me. I was supposed to do my fieldwork for the country towns project, finish proofing the teen film book, and finish writing the country girlhood book (at last). I suppose it's been a success. A moderate success.

I feel like some of the fieldwork got done - but just to that distracting point where I know exactly how impossible it is to do it properly with the time and the money I have. I could write something. Definitely. But I know it's not ready. I know I need to do more but I don't see how I can.

I did get the proofs done, in the end. And the book is out. Apparently when I get back to my office there will be a shiny pile of new books: For the first time I even like the cover!

But writing the country girl book is still proving such a challenge, perhaps even more of a challenge as I try to shift in and out of fieldwork that's now years old and fieldwork that's brand new. I have to try to stop focusing on girls when I'm "in" the new prpject and start focusing on girls when, generally on the same day, I'm trying to do justice to the "old" project. The fact that they're actually so close together, generally the same method, very similar though not identical sites, does not help at all. They're so getting in the way of one another.

And of course, being me, I already don't really want to do either of them, I want to do the next thing.

Yes it's just like any kind of writing that's not a one-off project. But the fact that I have various professional investments in it all is making it worse: team members for the current project, insufficiently met expectations that I will have published on the past grant, a forthcoming promotion application for which things like promoting the already published books (at which I suck) and getting through book 4 and onto book 5 really matter.

So now I'm a crazy story-switching machine. Half the time I can't tell which thing I'm writing about and have to go back and move the last couple of hours work to some other file because I ended up somewhere other than where I started. Usually, multi-tasking is one of my strengths. But right now it's twisting me in knots and I'm not sure how to get the stories straight.
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    Sunday morning (I have no excuse)
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Remembering Farrah Hair

There's a lot of people around me, on twitter, on facebook, and elsewhere, expressing irritation at others "mourning" celebrities in the wake of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson's deaths. Like it's stupid, or inexplicable. That irritates me, but I didn't want to post about why, really. What I want to post about is Farrah hair.

Oh how I wanted and tried to have Farrah hair. I did my best, for a while, but it isn't a style my hair could hold easily. My hair's blonde, but curly, and while Farrah hair requires a lot of time with manipulating the movement and hang of hair it's not about curls so much as about sweep, or maybe voom. Straight hair was not impossible for me, at least not when I was young and it was very long and my Nan would brush it from wet to dry in the sunshine or in front of the heater every time. But it took that kind of discipline; a kind of hair discipline I've never had on my own. So from the time I had my hair cut back to shoulder length at 10 or 11 - 11 I think - I could never get it to be straight. And Farrah hair is straight hair under very careful control. I know I wanted Farrah hair at least as much for the controlled skill it represented as for its glamorous California Girl look.

I remember playing Charlie's Angels at primary school. I was Jill. A girl named Tracy Everingham was Sabrina. No idea where Tracy is now. And I wish I could remember who was Kelly, but I can't at all, except for knowing it was someone with long brown wavy-but-not-curly hair. Our roles were decided by hair - hair colour at least - although I don't think I'd have played at all with much enthusiasm if I couldn't be Jill. And Jill was all about the hair. The hair was her freedom and her commitment.

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Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world who doesn't see the messiness of work/life boundaries for the "cultural studies" academic as a good thing (this also goes for the other disciplines where your "own" culture is a key object) . In various contexts I hear either that this is an ideological delusion which allows me to be exploited, or an ethical dilemma because I can't neatly separate some image of "my work life" from some other image of "my social life". I think it's funny that the former charges me with too assiduous a professionalism and the latter with not enough.

Anyway, it's usually case that when you think you're "the only person in the world" who thinks something you're completely wrong - either because you're not thinking about it very clearly or because you're just not talking to the right people. So here I'm talking to different people.

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Look! Two public posts on this journal in a week, what's up with that? Am I doing too much work, or not enough?
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    Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue
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Because I was asked to post it publicly...

"This is not a blog" from Feminist Media Studies, 8:2. Get the journal issue for the whole set of pieces on "The New Architectures of Intimacy? Social networking sites and genders", edited by Usha Zacharias and Jane Arthurs, which also includes a piece by my collaborator Melissa Gregg.

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And yes there are two published pieces of that collaboration (both 2008)
"Broadcast Yourself: Youth, Community and Intimacy Online". In Usha Manchanda Rodrigues (ed.) Youth, Media and Culture in the Asia-Pacific Region. Cambridge Scholars Press.
"message me: temporality, location and everyday technologies". In Media International Australia, 128: Special Issue on Digital Literacy.

There, see, I can do self promotion after all.
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    embarrassed awkward

Gender and Fan Culture: Catherine Driscoll and Matt Hills (and other stuff)

Go here, or here, for the first half of Matt Hills' and my contribution to Henry Jenkins' fan culture discussion series.

Also, does anyone know was there a list of delegates for Sectus? I promised a copy of my paper to a few (post)grad students, and I've lost one of the addresses - too many pieces of paper.

Finally, this CFP for a collection on Internet Fictions came my way. There's no way I have time, but I thought someone who passes through here might be interested.
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    The Cure - Love Cats


Melissa Gregg and I gave papers from the book we're writing at a special seminar at Goldsmiths last night. It was fascinating, really, seeing how our different perspectives, well, differ, but also intersect. And that's before we swap pieces to write our hybrid chapters. We've not presented in process pieces - pieces that we hadn't both already equally contributed to - in that way before. Enjoyed. Co-writing this book has been both interesting and fun thus far.

Oh, our papers?

Dr Melissa Gregg (Univ of Queensland)

Dr Catherine Driscoll (Univ of Sydney)

More soon on filter about London, but can I say that BBC1 is the most boring TV I've seen in ages. Right now I've another conference to think about.
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    pleased pleased

The real reason for conference travel

Now I had heard that the PRC was deploying a range of filters to limit "inappropriate" content on websites. I'd heard it and I'd filed it away in the basket of attempts to govern the internet that would never really work - the way age limits etc on porn sites never really work - because of the dispersed structure of the net itself.

But in the PRC for a conference, despite paying for a "digital room" my internet didn't work. This was not because I couldn't get access - frankly, because I also work in "rural studies" (despite doing so, I hope, in ways rural studies mostly wouldn't be happy with), I am used to unstable or non-existent internet access - but because my sites were not allowed.

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Naturally, as I'm posting this, it can be got around. Thanks to Femme I have a whole series of "anonymizing" links that have let me onto different sites in different ways. But I have so many questions about what's been listed and what hasn't, what was taken off the lists and for what reason, and so on. Are corporations paying a premium to get their sites/hubs permitted in China?

Also, when the net in China is such a growing thing what does this mean about our sense of the way "social networking" works online, and what kind of networks get formed. So, conferencing today, and really hoping to find some people to answer questions I would never have had if I didn't travel to this conference.
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    curious curious

shifting planes

So the first of those HJ fandom discussions is now up here. I have commented there, but blogs being blogs there's really no way of following a comment there with actual discussion so I'm linking to it here. In order to do that I have to link to this journal in the "outside" (meaning non-LJ) world, which I have never done before and never intended to do. I feel highly ambivalent about it, but I guess it's been coming for months, ever since Mel and I decided to do the book.

Comments on my comment are welcome here (once it's been authorised by the blog owner and is actually visible).

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PS. the post actually freaked me out because it's dated June 1 and I thought I must have slept through a whole day in jetlagfugue, but my computer agrees with me that it is only May 31.
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    Radiohead - Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)

searchable Henry Jenkins post

Thing 1) icarusancalion's just been cited on Jenkins' blog. I know she knows, as she's commented to him, but woohoo! for a post that didn't come through the authorised-academics-posting-for-each-other channels getting a cite on a well-tracked blog.

Thing 2) Henry mentioned today finding references to himself on LJ that seemed too personally inflected to comfortably cite or perhaps even respond to. We've been to that topic before, of course, on various filters and off, but I thought it'd be interesting to note that academics not working in LJ also don't really know what the rules should be around personal posts - I'm still down with what was agreed under a discussion moderated by idlerat: if you don't filter, it's there for anyone to find and thus quote; it's a publication whether you think of it that way or not. The proviso, of course, is that you're identified only in the ways you choose to identify yourself on your LJ.

Thing 3) Is LJ too enclosed? HJ suggested that the fact that you have to have an LJ makes it hard to interact with. And other people have said that here, of course. I suppose I think the fact that they're free and easy to get makes me think it's not much of an issue. But I didn't say to him that he should just get an LJ then, because I know why not - it's about keeping all the academic work coherently together under an academic name - and so the blog is the right medium.
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