Huh?? How did this happen? I haven't sent out any conference paper proposals in many months and actually backed out of the panel I was supposed to present on at Same Regional MLA Conference 2011 back in April.
So. Someone read something I wrote. Decided ze would like me to be on hir panel. Googled my name (first tried looking me up at Grad U., but I'm no longer "affiliated"). And called me up here at Think Tank.
Bizarro. Conversation went like this:
Me, picking up office phone: "Hello, Think Tank, Crapital City. This is recent Ph.D. speaking."
Solicitor of Conference Paper: "Hello. Is this the same recent Ph.D. of Grad U.?"
Me: "Yes, I used to teach there but finished my degree a year ago and am now working here. What can I do for you?"
Solicitor of Conference Paper: "I read your article on Pickled Apricots and Space Ships, and I was wondering if you'd like to be on the panel I'm chairing on Pickled Apricots and Space Ships at Regional MLA Conference in 2012. I think your work is really interesting."
Me: "Thank you. I'm flattered. As I mentioned, I'm not working in academe right now, but I might like to be on this panel. Here is my email address. Send me more information."
Solicitor of Conference Paper: "Will do. Hope you'll say yes!"Now, what am I supposed to do here? Pickled Apricots and Space Ships is something I need to work more on as I develop Project Dissertation-to-Book (which I have not touched since the last Research Update), so maybe a conference paper derived from a completed chapter on Pickled Apricots and Space Ships is something to aim for, something that would motivate me.
On the other hand, I don't know if I want to spend money out-of-pocket to attend Conference in Other (boring) City to give a 20-minute talk and surround myself the rest of the time with people who will only remind me over and over and over again why I am not currently "affiliated" formally with academe.
In a different way, this invitation itself is yet further evidence of academe's perversity. Other Scholar finds my work interesting? Finds it interesting enough to go out of hir way to look up my contact info, call me, and invite me to be on hir panel?
And yet, academe thrusts me out. Would I rather be working in academe than as some think tank executive's "assistant" (no offense, TTB)? If you've been reading this blog, you know that's a dumb question. Of course, I'd rather be doing something I like more, something I'm trained in, and something other people clearly agree I'm good at -- something less wasteful of my talents and with which I'd be more satisfied at the end of the day (and let's face it, less bored). But academe offers me no sustainable job options.
Academe, I fucking HATE you more and more with each passing day.