Some insecure people feel the compulsion, but really don’t know why. Speaking strictly for this insecure person it’s because (I think) I’ve been ignored most of my life. I didn’t cause trouble so teachers seldom paid me any mind. (I’m pretty good about obeying rules.) I was a middle child with less than a year at youngest status. I was abandoned in a house at the age of one for God knows how long when my father went out on a bender. Who knows? In any case, this piece isn’t really about any of that. It’s about the compulsion to write articles. I don’t know why I keep volunteering to do this. They get me nowhere. You’re not paid for them, and you get little exposure. I seem to be addicted to appearing in print.
This blog is purely an electronic phenomenon. It exists nowhere in print. I post on it every day in the hope that, like a Pioneer probe, it will connect with somebody who comprehends. As a non, but erstwhile, academic I am not compelled to write. In fact, it sometimes complicates things. (If you believe that freedom of written expression exists you’ve never read a publishing contract.) So print publication appeals to me. I had an email from a volume editor the other day and I couldn’t place the name. I opened it to read that the volume had been accepted as I was struggling to remember what I promised I would write for him. I had to do an email search to locate the chain. So that’s what I said I’d do! (The previous article I’d committed to I remembered well, since the proposal was long overdue.)
Print publication, you see, takes a long time. An erstwhile editor (likely an academic), gets an idea. They wrestle with it a while and then write it down. Pitch it to a publisher. The in-house editor has to pitch it to the editorial board. Often after peer review. It can, in my defense, take months—plenty of time to have forgotten I said I’d contribute. Then the book has to be written. That part can take years, but in edited collections many hands make light work. After the disparate pieces are finally cajoled in (one editor had to keep after me for four months), the editor, well, edits them. Then they finally get sent off to the publisher. The production process takes about a year. The volume comes out and you get a congratulatory email or two, and then it’s forgotten. I’m not sure why I do it, but I’ve been published by university presses for taking these on. When I was teaching I couldn’t seem to get their interest. Now that I’m writing about horror they’re starting to notice. But then, that’s how monsters behave.
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