So today I was just sitting on my ass, drinking tea and reading the Sunday Times, when I decided to check my e-mail.
And in it was a message from a scholar I'll call Primary Influence, with whom I correspond rather less frequently than I'd like. It should be more frequently, and that is my fault-- she's incredibly warm and inspiring and has always taken an interest in my work.
She wanted to know where my Quixotic Old Warrior article was being published, so that she could cite it in a book chapter that explores many of the same issues.
This prompted me to spend the next five hours fine-tuning the piece to send out again this week. I'd done some work on it last semester and then basically put it aside, too fearful to take it out and risk rejection yet again. But suddenly my lost enthusiasm and focus returned with this lovely e-mail.
And so I wrote back to her right away. And for the rest of the afternoon, we e-mailed back and forth as I edited The Don, polishing his armor and readying him for battle once more.
I've got to get it published, otherwise I'll be footnoted in three pieces before any of my own work is out! I mean, I guess she could just footnote the dissertation, but it would be so cool if my first important piece were footnoted in Primary Influence's Next Great Book. Then I wouldn't have to hem and haw as much when people asked me how my work differed from hers (this was what Dream Job That Got Away asked me at my MLA interview two years ago).