¶ One of the few things I felt I was certain of when I got my tenure-track job was that I would upgrade my home desk. True, she was the easiest thing to move, comprised of two industrial, cross-hatched legs topped by a black slab of particle board, unattached. Aside from being easy to move and store (and having cost less than $100 all told), it was also romantic. In the early 1980s, my mother had always invested in tablecloths because my parents’ first dinning table was just a door—knob hole and all—balanced on top of two koa tree trunks. (It was only replaced when my grandmother accidentally put a glass through where the knob should have been. The full-sized, immovable dinning set I grew up doing homework on appeared two days later.) My modular, penny-pincher of a desk was a romantic reminder of good starts.
¶ I write to you, dear reader, after six years of MA and PhD work and two years in a job, from this same desk.
¶ I’m lucky. I’ve never had too much trouble with “killing my darlings” when it comes to writing. I can’t stand my first drafts and am typically eager to get to revising stages.
¶ I’m realizing that the book proposal genre is a bit of a different beast. I’ve followed what all the bloggers and books recommend: take time and get some distance. It’s been more than a year and a half since my dissertation defense and revisiting that object for a serious strip-down and re-vision. I’ve written so many query letters, fellowship and grant applications, and other documents where the narrative about this project is the cornerstone. It is language I have downright slaved-over and, what’s more, I still like it. I have a new title I like better, and I know exactly the pieces that need to be tossed, a sense of the remodeling that needs to happen—and I am excited about all of these. But it doesn’t mean I dislike what the project once was.