13 May 2010

Updates and reflections: May edition

So I've been laying low for a while. A few weeks back, I posted a few things and promised to continue my discussion on myth and religion, and tie it all in to the Mythology of anime. And then I disappeared. This was only partly intentional. While I apologize for the total lack of updates, or really anything, I did have reasons behind my disappearance.

Namely, I've been busy. Crazy busy. April was a productive month for me, I spent a lot of time going over things related to Anime Boston, reviewing data, revising surveys and pouring my mental faculties into essays related to my Modern Mythology panel. And I was doing my best to keep to my twice a week update schedule that I have been sticking to (or at least trying to) since last November. Then May hit me like a ton of proverbial bricks, and I've been unable to catch up.

First off, my thesis, the be all and end all of the last 19 months, has hit something of a wall. Lack of direction mostly, as I have been handling the work all by myself, with no real input from my department. While I have an academic coach, and she is a godsend, mind you, she can't do much more than help me focus my thoughts and plan my scheduling. Everything else is all me, and admittedly, lately it's been a huge case of me biting off more than I can chew. With data tables closer related to a Doctoral dissertation than a master's thesis, I've been finding myself cutting put more and more of my original ideas to make the work manageable. But even this has it's limits, and lately I've been flailing like a Magikarp out of water.

Second is the side project. I'm keeping it mum for now, until I've done more work with it, but I've been going back to my roots, so to say, and researching something closer to my comfort zone than before. To understand what I mean: a lot of my recent work has felt alien to me. I look at others in the field of anime research, and I can't help but think I'm hopelessly behind, and I keep comparing my work to their's, and then start feeling insecure about myself. With my confidence wavering, I become more erratic, and the cycle starts again. So I decided to ignore other people and look at what I do best, and analyze best. And it was sort of staring me in the face all along. So in the coming weeks and months, expect more mythology, and forays into the impact of religion in anime, which is really what I love most about what I do. I keep forgetting to remind myself that I am, first and foremost, a religion scholar, and I need to bend it to my will.

Third is the upcoming con season. Much like last summer, this one will consist of a lot of traveling while I distribute more surveys and give more panels. I don't have any concrete plans yet for a lot of my summer until Inochicon, but I will be going to both Anime Mid-Atlantic and Connecticon in June and July, respectively. I'm also hoping to make it to Otakon and Anime Next. And since I am debuting a few new panels, I spend about an hour a day working on them, in addition to other research projects. Ah, the life of a freelance scholar!

So there you have it. My life has been a chaotic mess, and I'm only now managing to catch up. But I have a few new features I plan to implement on this site in a few weeks, including a little section I call "Anime Archaeology," where I go through some of the "relics" of the anime scene I came into in the late 90's that I've recently been "unearthing" as I clean out my basement. I won't give away too much, but I found old copies of Mixx Zine, old Ranma graphic novels, and a mess of cards from the Ani-Mayhem CCG, circa 1996-1998.

So I suppose then that there will be something of a "rebirth" to this site very soon. I thank you all for bearing with me, and I hope you enjoy it!

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