Archive for the ‘Motorcycles’ Category

So far along our road trip you’ve read Germano, got your solo writing cape on, have a belief in what you’re doing, know for sure why your work needs to be published, and had another piece of pie. Okay, time to check the GPS (online resources) and think about where we are headed by considering all the publishers ever known. It’s Bucket List Time, folks. That’s right, you need to look at all the possibilities so you don’t miss the right possibility. Think big! Now ask yourself some questions. Pretend you are doing a Buzzfeed quiz.


1) Readership: who would be interested in reading this work?

2) Academic or popular or both: is the work framed for a more educational/institutional setting or for popular culture? Does it serve both sectors?

3) What is the main discipline? Women’s Studies, Political Science, French Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Shakespeare Studies, Communication, Canadian Art History, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Theatre, Psychology, Creative Writing, Religious Studies, Medicine, Art Education, Law, Fine Arts, American Literature, East Asian Literature, etc.

  • Note: this is tricky especially if you are an interdisciplinary scholar because more than likely you will be able to select 18 possible disciplines. In this case, narrow it down to 3.

4) What is the main theme within the discipline? Write it down in one sentence, for instance, “The main theme that my book follows in the discipline of Political Science is  …”

5) What are two secondary themes? One sentence!!!

6) Which country is the work grounded in? United States, South America, Canada, Indonesia, Finland, Africa, etc. Detail the specific region if possible.

  • Even if your work has a global trajectory, it is more than likely your research is based somewhere (or a few somewheres). Identify these spaces.

7) Name 5 published works that you could imagine your book appearing next to on a bookshelf. Identify the publishers.

  • Note: This is a great opportunity to take a few minutes to close your eyes and picture your book’s cover. Do it! It’s fun.

8) Name 3 publishers that you have already considered, probably around 2 a.m. while you were highly caffeinated and formatting your dissertation’s bibliography.

9) Select one of the above. The dream publisher. What is it about this publisher that makes you believe that it is the right house for your work?

10) In one sentence, write why your work is suited for the above publisher. * Note: I’m a big fan of “get it down in one sentence.”  The elevator pitch. Think Mad Men. Concision is a struggle with constraint. But a necessary one. I’ll talk about this more a bit later.

11) Talk to your advisors. Ask the only other people in the world who have read your work for their suggestions. They are also published, right? They may suggest publishers you have not considered.

Now that you have gone from big picture to a more narrowed field, take the time to examine all the possibilities while reflecting on your answers to the above questions. To follow are 2 online resources for your search. It is not the be all end all list, but it will get you started:

Association of Canadian University Presses

International Academic Press

When you have finished your research, do the following:

  • Write down 5 publishing houses that you think would be well suited for your work.
  • Short list 3 out of the 5.
  • Return to the 3 publication sites and really consider “the one.” Write down the name of the one publishing house.

Now you are ready to begin to draft your proposal.

Next stop: The Million Dollar Question: How many proposals should I send out?

It’s a bit of a late start but all that I need to do is install the two new mirrors (which were immoveable and impossible to adjust), and the new battery belt (which was basically dust posing as a battery belt).  The battery tray painted – check;  air filters cleaned – check;  and covers painted – check.

The clutch is fairly tight, so I’m going to lubricate the line to see if that will loosen it up. My left shoulder tends to ache after riding (which I know, I know, I’ve heard has something to do with the fact that I’m a new rider … but I think the fact that my clutch is as tight as the lid of a new ketchup bottle doesn’t help).  And of course add oil … and gas.  Then all I need to do is to see if it starts.  I’m going to say ten … okay, no … let’s say fifteen tries (after a winter in the garage) to get it to idle … like a rough old-alley-cat on a summer’s day kinda idle.

Battery Tray – Before and After Shot:  “Before”

Battery Tray – Before and After Shot: “After”

I really don’t like quoting Pirsig’s 1974 metaphysical best seller (which seems like an oxymoron, no?) because however “zen” you want to get with the romantic notion of an older bike … I still need help with it.   So instead I’ll share an experience:  I took a refresher class with a girlfriend and there was something really wonderful about it:  I was simultaneously nervous and excited as I tried to remember how to start the bike  (and I was totally embarrassed because I didn’t know where the electric start was (yes, whatever). Remember mine is a kick start.  But once I got it going it was indeed … like riding a bike:  there is the gaining control over this machine (without a seatbelt), the tension building in the fiction point, and a total reliance of self to just let go; the power to take it to high speeds and to control it down into a-just-about-stand-still American Style braking without stalling and then adjusting my counterbalance so far over that my butt was off the seat to control the motorcycle in the smallest of circles.  Each circle testing my balance and fear and confidence …  I don’t know, maybe it is zen.

My 1974 Honda Café Racer has a kick-start; it’s not a common feature especially as my only option to start my motorcycle and is not generally preferred over the (highly coveted by me) electric start, a feature that takes a mere push of a thumb to get you and your  bike on your way. Instead, my kick-start takes the crazy-assed physical effort of my entire body to start the engine and usually ends with me tearing off layers of my clothing, while apologizing to all the over-the-shoulder glances with their fancy-pants electric starters.  It’s a bit of a showdown between it and me. Those who have ever tried to kick start a cold engine in the morning, or stalled in the middle lane in mid-afternoon traffic, or got a kick-back shin bruising when the ignition timing is off, know what I mean. It’s a beast.

However, a beautiful moment occurs when I finally, finally get my motorcycle to idle (which usually results in me high five-ing anyone who is still waiting). The sound is indeed sweet. It purrs. It’s a rough purr mind you much like a beat up alley cat that has found some summer sun on a patch of cracked asphalt. I wait patiently. Listening. It tells me when it’s ready. I wait because I know that in its idleness there is movement. The engine is coming to life, a mechanical resuscitation by the fuel that’s injecting and flowing through its system. Food for its parts. It needs to idle otherwise it is just pieces of metal and chain, an empty shell, nothing more.

My bike is in the garage right now. I’ll be painting the battery tray, readjusting my clutch, changing my left mirror, and replacing a burnt out signal light.  Like me, it’s overwintering, waiting for patches of warm sun.


… there is a clementine, a cup of green jasmine tea, two cats, and the word Trauerspiel. From this odd catalogue, I’d like to begin with the “mourning play” because, well, I think it is as good a place as any to begin.  In “The Origin of German Tragic Drama,” Walter Benjamin describes Trauerspiel as being unlike Tragedy which is rooted in myth, and instead finds its difference by being grounded in history (16).  But what exactly is the work that needs to be done to separate the mythical out from the historical or the transcendental from the material?  This blog is not necessarily rooted in the 19th century, but it is a site of rupture from which oranges, tea, and the feral, as well as other possible tangents might emerge…

“The drama, more than any other literary form, needs a resonance of history” (48)

And don’t get me wrong, I agree that this would seem, at first glance,  a rather morose way to send off a blog on its initial voyage:  “go and play in sorrow and stuff!”  But of course there’s more going on here.  Benjamin insists that Tragedy is performed in silence whereas the Baroque Trauerspiel is anything but that : it’s rather noisy.  Tragedy does not need an audience.  Trauerspiel demands one.  What happens when the silence sewn up in Tragedy is ripped open to reveal all the historical threads?  More directly:  to hear them:  “For how justified are we in accepting that what people describe as tragic as tragic” (38). What happens to Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar when they are read through this Baroque lens, as Benjamin suggests? And further, what happens when these plays and their ubiquitous themes (power, betrayal, and love) are adapted into 19th century media, People magazine, in trial and state execution transcripts, and detention sites, etc; what happens when the sovereign and beast are no longer dichotomized but are one?  What does the Trauerspiel, in its very “primal leap” into being or Ursprung, give us access to?

Indeed this is where the task of the investigator begins, for [they] cannot regard such a fact as certain until its innermost structure appears to be so essential as to reveal it as an origin (46).

And for Benjamin, as for Foucault, Dilthey, Derrida, Spivak, and for all curious and questioning beings:  this is an endless task …