The Pit Says Yes!

These past few years, writing and submitting to academic journals has felt a lot like flinging things into a pitch black, seemingly bottomless pit. And it’s been particularly frustrating because into this pit I only fling the things that I’ve spent a lot of time and effort in conceiving, constructing, sculpting, and refining. They are lovingly made for flinging. I painstakingly wrap them up, tie little bows on them, attach a nice card, take them to the pit’s edge, give them a little pat of encouragement, give them an energetic fling, and then wander back to craft another thing while I wait several months for word about what the pit thinks.

Sometimes, the mysterious denizens of the pit will fling the thing back into my lap and will give me very useful comments about how to improve the thing. It’s a nice thing, they’ll say, but a bit out of proportion here, a bit oddly shaped there, and it could use a few extra sequins and puff-balls glued onto its base. Or sometimes they say the thing would be a nicer thing if it didn’t have a base at all, and if wings were added. Or antennae. Antennae are exciting. Then I spend a good number of weeks, if not months, making changes so I can send it back to the pit.

There have also been times when they return the thing saying that they really didn’t see the purpose of it and that the thing really isn’t very good at all. And then I sigh, give the thing a consoling pat, give myself a consoling pat, and let the thing rest for a very, very long time (if not indefinitely) before I give it a makeover and fling it down the pit again.

Making things for the pit is hard. The pit can often be very demanding. The pit is also quite slow.

But then comes the day when the pit doesn’t return the thing. They decide that it’s a keeper, and they would like to keep it and share it with various academic institutions and individuals who are willing to pay to access it. A few days ago, I received word of such a decision from the pit. The pit said yes!

The thing that has been accepted for publication is a piece of literary criticism comparing Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights with Ayu Utami’s Saman – an Indonesian novel published in 1998. It’s been accepted by the journal Comparative Literature.

Seriously though, I really am quite happy. At this stage in my career, every new peer-reviewed publication counts! Although there’s a possibility that it will be published sometime in 2013, it’s been scheduled to appear in 2014. I’m sure that the day will be upon us in the blink of an eye!


  1. Did you include a reference to Grace Pool?

    1. That’s Jane Eyre, not Wuthering Heights. Is that you, Wayne?

      1. Oh that’s right…I remember having a huge crush on the feisty Catherine Earnshaw when I first read it 14 years ago!!

  2. Writing ‘Saman’ when she did was a very brave act by Ayu Utami.

    Post-Suharto, it’s a lot easier to highlight the abuses she chronicled, but a shame that we have to.

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