Alcestis Family Graduate school Publishing

passing

It’s been a weird fall and winter.

Lots of exciting things occurred, not all of which will be written about here. The book deal you know about, and the dissertation prospectus exam. The biggest thing in my life for the last few years, though, has been my father’s illness. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2003, just after he retired (and just before I graduated from college). He had loads of chemo, a stem cell transplant, treatment with monoclonal antibodies. In the end, nothing worked — or rather, nothing worked for long enough. The cancer always came back. He died on December 23, 2008, at home in Oregon.

He was an amazing man and an amazing father. If you’d like to read his obituary, you can do so here.

And in December — I had a book to revise. I know that sounds strange; how could I, while Dad was so sick? And the answer is, really, that I could because I wanted to and because I had to; that’s how we’ve managed everything for the last three years, the years when he was really sick. I spent a lot of time at home whenever I could, but my parents felt strongly that I should not abandon my graduate work, and I did what I had to in order to manage both responsibilities. My father kept going, despite feeling like crap most of the time, because there were still things he wanted to do. My mother kept going, which in her case meant “kept taking wonderful care of my father and being an awesome human being.” You just keep going, and you do what you can to be happy.

It made my father tremendously happy, by the way, to know that this novel was going to be published.

I turned in the revised manuscript of Alcestis this last Sunday and then promptly thought of about eight other things I wanted to add to it. So this week I wrote up an acknowledgments page, toyed with and then discarded the idea of adding a note about why I chose to use Romanized Greek names (which I guess should really be called Anglicized Romanized Greek names), and fixed one weird naming choice I’d made — and now I think I’m done, at least until my lovely editor lets me know if she wants any other last-minute changes. Soon there will be page proofs, and I’ll need to ask some of my very favorite writers if they might be willing to look at the book and say kind things about it. And oh god there are so many other things I have to do this semester. One of those things is to post here more often. I know I say that all the time, but I really will do my best. I’m hoping it’ll be a better spring.

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