Into the tempest once more…

Into the tempest once more…

I have a chance to resubmit a dead grant. I have a few weeks to do so. I might have had longer but the truth is, I had given up on both the grant and academia in general. The fight felt humiliating and I couldn’t take any more humiliation. It’s hard to ask for special exceptions without feeling pathetic and broken.

But, y’know, fuck that.

You don’t get if you don’t ask. So I asked. And I got. It’s a chance, nothing more. And looking over the grant I’m revising…damn it’s a complete mess. I over-promised (the biggest sin) and in over-promising I cut data and background that’s absolutely needed for things to come together cohesively.

More than that, I tried at first to write the thing using voice to text software. This turned out to be a terrible idea for an inexperienced software user attempting a first time grant. The program didn’t understand my scientific jargon and I have yet to train myself to speak in the stilted structured science-ese that pervades the literature. I was terrified to admit how far behind this left me, so I hid the disaster until the last minute. By the time I solicited help, everyone helping me was pulling all-nighters along with me.

That should not have happened.

My right (dominant) hand is a mess. It has an impressive amount of titanium hardware bolted into the bones of my wrist from long-ago falls and deep purple-green bruising from recent ones. More to the point, I have spinal lesions that have left my hands numb and clumsy and weak and terrible. For some time I’ve assumed that this is the death knell of a scientific career. “Hands” are a metaphor for good benchwork, and my hands frankly suck. How can I ever leap the hurdle between postdoc and PI when I can barely type and only pipette for brief stretches?

The conclusion I have reached is this: I have no fucking idea.

I am still trying though. When I figure it out, I’ll let you all know.




I think I need to write, just to do it. Just to get things that are spinning and fomenting in my thoughts out, extrude the mental space into a quasi-physical one.

My coping mechanisms, like my writing skills, are not particularly well honed. Threads of fear hamper all forms of communication, tangling up my words or even more often, holding them back entirely. I am an uncomfortable introvert.

Apropos of nothing, here is a picture of a cat caught high in the branches of a very tall tree.