AcWriMo Reflection 9

Today: A moment of human connection that moved my project forward.

I mean, I could just put my acknowledgements here.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do, just in case the book never sees the light.

(I had a rough night with the kids last night at bedtime; I’m feeling fatalistic.)

How do I thank everyone who has supported me during the last eight years and beyond? Who have encouraged me throughout my life to write and keep writing? Who introduced me to this world called the web and empowered me to use my voice on it? Who welcomed me into a community and helped keep me alive?

There is a lot of research on how ADHD brains are wired differently, but I have yet to read anything on how our hearts may work differently as well. I once told a friend: you don’t understand my heart or how much love it can hold. This is a part of my being too much, too emotional, too loud—no one believes (or maybe wants to believe) that anyone can feel this much, this sincerely, this intensely. Every sentiment, then, becomes either understated or overstated. These acknowledgements feel like both at once, overwhelming and yet still not enough to express what you all have meant to me.

First and foremost, I have to thank my husband and two kids. He asked me, in the depths of my despair, what it was I really wanted to do and then told me to go and do it. I would not have started the blog or started tweeting without his encouragement and support. And my kids for allowing me to write about our lives together. My husband finds it amusing that I am writing a quasi-memoir in my early 40s. I am grateful he has been by my side for more than a third of those years.

Next, I have to thank Katie Rose Guest Pryal for believing in this book and this manuscript. Her patience and her advice truly helped this collection become what it is now, which is better than what it was, better than what I believed it could be. I have always settled for good enough with my writing, but she saw something more for this collection, and she helped me see it too. I will be forever grateful for that.

I learned to code in HTML when I was an undergraduate by an adjunct professor; I unfortunately don’t remember his name, but I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to being on the web. Another adjunct, Ann Scowcroft, taught me as much as I know about writing, and encouraged me in my creative endeavors. Jo-Ann Elder, also an adjunct, was a wonderful mentor who has come in and out of my life at just the right times.

My friend Rob Ryan from high school invited me to write for his website when he started one back in 1998 or 1999. This opportunity was one of the first indications that maybe I had a voice that people liked and would read. I gave up writing online when I started my Ph.D., and I am grateful that we let the domain registration run out on the original site. But I love that I can say, I was blogging before blogging was even blogging, thanks to Rob.

The list of people who supported me when I got online again in 2010 is a long one and I will definitely forget some of you. Reading through all my old posts while preparing this book reinforces how much of the old community forged through an RSS feed has passed by the wayside. However, there is a core group of people who, as I always say, were nice to me when I was too much on twitter when I first got on, and for that I will always be grateful. They include the ProfHacker crew, the UVenus crew, the Hybrid Pedagogy crew, the Hook and Eye crew, and the Adjunct Swarm crew.

But I will signal some people out. Mary Churchill encouraged me to take my Blogger blog to Inside Higher Ed and provided much appreciated mentorship. Melonie Fullick and I have been living in foreign countries (her a Kiwi in Canada, me a Canadian in the US) together on social media from the start, and I appreciate her friendship. Liana Silva and Kelly Baker—former adjuncts, fierce writers and editors both—have given me opportunities to keep writing, and their editorial eyes have made me a better writer. I am also proud to call them my friends. Aimée Morrison is who I want to be when I grow up. Bonnie Stewart is the older sister I wish I had. I cried the day that I realized Audrey Watters was my friend because her work and her voice mean so much to me.

I had a rough go for a while as a Comparative Literature Ph.D. teaching freshman writing, but Nicole Papaioannou and I started #FYCchat together and formed a community on twitter that I will always be grateful for. Deanna Mascle was my first friend and real colleague at Morehead State, and I am so happy we got to be partners in crime together. During this time, through my adjunct activism, I was put in touch with Kate Bowles, whose grace I still draw strength from, and whose words inspire me in my own writing. Marybeth Shea also provided invaluable feedback on this manuscript.

I tried my hand at doing digital humanities and, like being a literature person teaching rhet-comp, there was some resistance. But, there were people like Dean Irvine, Roopsi Risam, Anastasia Salter, Alex Gil, Kathi Inman Berens, Bethany Nowviskie and others who welcomed me and sat on my panels and put me on panels and funded a non-tenure-track nobody from nowhere. I got to stand up at major international conferences and say, sometimes writing publicly on a blog is still a radical act, and that building is a privilege, and that there is still the exclusion of adjuncts and students like the ones I taught in these spaces.

When I said I wanted to get into faculty development, Paul Martin and Josh Eyler (who also read a draft of this book and gave me invaluable feedback) stepped up and helped me get started. When I needed a break into the field, Chris Rice took a chance and gave it to me. Brian Croxall has talked me down from a couple of twitter ledges, while Kevin Gannon and Ian Petrie have kept me sane in my work and gotten me into JUST enough trouble. When Aaron Bady would include me in the list for the old Sunday Readings, I thought I had really made it, and that he keeps asking me to write things is still wondrous to me.

And then as I moved into Ed Tech spaces, I am grateful for Kristen Eshleman, Mike Caulfield, Michael Burman (who also read a draft of this book), Autumm Caines, Daniel Lynds, Sundi Richards, and Maha Bali for welcoming me into the community and guiding me. You all keep me striving for what is better. Kristine Weglarz is a fellow displaced Canadian whom I can rely on to conspire with.

Finally, there are people who are your friends and you don’t know why, but there they are and they are steadfast: Chuck Pearson, Laura Gogia, Zach Whalen, and Nigel Haarstad. Circumstances threw us together, and you have stuck by me, and for that I am grateful (is there another word for grateful? Probably, but it’s the best one I’ve got). I’ve said personally what each of you have meant to me, but know that it is still true, and maybe even more so.

In my original Bad Female Academic: Shameless Self-Promotion blog post, I was talking about getting to a thousand followers. I’m at over ten thousand now. I’ve forgotten so many people here. Every single person who has ever encouraged me, who has told me what I said has made a difference for them, who has reached out to say thank you, this book would not have been possible without you. You all empowered me to be a Bad Female Academic. And then, you all stayed. And cheered and supported and made me better.

This book is for everyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in, especially in academia. You are not alone. Tell your story, too.

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