Since returning from the ASSA conference early this month (an experience recounted in my last post), I've actually been managed to be rather productive:
- I've made significant progress on my book for Palgrave on the decline of the individual, mainly in chunks of one or two hours early each morning. It can be odd finishing my daily work on it as early as 8 AM and then not thinking about it again until the next morning; I've never written a book before that wasn't my primary focus throughout the day. It will be interesting to see if this changes as the book progresses (and as the deadline gets closer!).
- I assembled the chapters and contributors for Doctor Strange and Philosophy, quite a task with three times as many submissions as I could accept.
- I'm close to a complete list of chapters and contributors for my handbook of ethics and economics for Oxford.
- I have been in touch with both Palgrave and Rowman & Littlefield International regarding my respective series for each (on which I've been lax), and I think we have some ideas almost ready to go.
- I continued to discuss other book ideas with publishers, with mixed results. (Ah well.)
- I revised my chapter “Dignity on the Line: The Kantian Ethics and Economics of Work,” for Fair Work: Ethics, Social Policy, Globalization, edited by Kory Schaff, the first release in my "On Ethics and Economics" series at Rowman & Littlefield International.
- I went into Manhattan to film some interview footage for a documentary set for broadcast in October; I'll have more info on that later this year, I hope. (The last time I went there to film documentary footage it never aired, so I'm a bit superstitious now!)
- Finally, I seemed to write an extraordinary number of referee reports, reviews of book manuscripts and grant applications, and letters of recommendation, more than I normally write in an entire year. (Good thing the spring semester just started yesterday!)
Surprisingly, for all my self-flagellation about scheduling and routine, I managed to get a lot of things done this past month without them, besides making sure I did a solid bit of work on my book on the individual every morning. The key to my productivity this month seems to have been making a reasonable to-do list for each day and then ticking as many things off it as I could. I make the list first thing in the morning (and sometimes the night before), and that saves me from sitting around wondering what to do next, especially after the morning writing is done. So simple... and it justifies my addiction to buying cool notebooks and journals.
In other news...
- My edited book The Insanity Defense: Multidisciplinary Views on Its History, Trends, and Controversies came out this month. It is the culmination of a lot of work, most of it very pleasant, especially reading and editing the twelve fantastic chapters by brilliant contributors from law, philosophy, psychiatry, and neuroscience.
- I had the honor of being interviewed by my good friend Carol Borden for The Cultural Gutter, in a piece titled "On the Heroic Breed," in which I talk about my favorite superheroes, the process behind my books on superheroes and philosophy, and the relevance and value of superheroes to us in the world today.
- Finally, I got rear-ended by a car carrier (hauling two layers of salvaged cars) on Route 78 on a very cold and icy day. No injuries to report, but my car is headed once again to the body shop next week. In related news, I have definitely lost my love of driving.
I didn't work on everything I wanted to this month, though. I didn't make any progress on my current superhero-and-philosophy project, but there were plenty of other things to do that were more urgent, and that book is not due until later this year. I also didn't touch my guitar, which I had been playing regularly before the holidays; and fiction still remains to be written. But at least I'm in a better state of mind regarding personal life and work issues than at the end of last year (as relayed at the end of this post), and that's no small thing. (Busyness may be a distraction, but distractions can be valuable.)
My state of mind regarding the recent events in the United States under our new president, however, is a different story. If you're anything like me, you know full well what's going on. Personally, I find myself glued to Twitter like never before (other than my morning writing sessions, during which I can occasionally ignore the rest of the world for a while). It's heartbreaking to see the values for which I love my country eroded more each day, but at the same time it's exhilarating to watch protests develop in real time rather than hearing about them later.
I have to believe things will get better, not because of any faith in this president, his administration, or Congress, but because the people will continue to stand up in resistance, will demand to be heard, and will not accept the destruction of what this country stands for. I have to believe that.