Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Black Album

Not surprisingly, I am going to start with a musical analogy.

In 1987, following the critical and commercial success of Sign of the Times, Prince was on the verge of releasing a deeply funky but dark, misogynistic, and violent album to be entitled The Funk Bible. Then, a week before release, he pulled the album. Due to the fact that the handful of promo copies that went out were in an unmarked black sleeve, the record became known as The Black Album and was widely bootlegged. A few months later, he followed up with a poppy fruit loop of a record called Lovesexy which featured him naked on the cover in a picture that had to have been taken at a glamour shot at the local mall.

Legend has it that Prince became dissatisfied with the tone of The Black Album and had second thoughts about releasing something he perceived as negative into the world.

If you read this blog regularly, you probably noticed a few missing entries. I'm pretty sure that in the blogging world this is uncool but frankly I am unconcerned with such 'blogma' (you see what I did there). Yesterday I got a lot of hits for what I had written about glam journals. I still believe in what I wrote, and you can still email me about it, but I decided it doesn't belong here.

I write best and most prolifically when I am emotional about something. For the last little while, I have been relatively comfortable with my P, and other things have been bothering me instead. I wrote about those things in response, but I feel it was a mistake to conflate those with the original purpose of this blog. There is some deeply personal material here that I want people to read and think about. Every entry like the last two puts space between that material and a new reader to my blog and disrupts the narrative of my P experience. A lot of new readers came through yesterday and only one read through to here. It already made me uncomfortable to get such a huge response to something snarky and muckraking when that's not what my blog is about at all.  I have certainly been accused of negativity, but this is no place for cynicism.

Then I got an email last night from the other "P" congratulating me on an upcoming writing project that grew out of this blog. I thought about what she said to me when I told her my diagnosis. I thought about the voice she drew out of me. I thought about all the emails I've gotten from people who also have P. I thought about the young postdoc who confessed to me that ze was terrified to tell hir PI that ze has similar condition.  Then I thought, there are a lot of blogs about the downside of glam, but there aren't that many blogs for that postdoc. That's what the other P knew from the start and that's what I needed to be reminded of.

"S", if you're still listening I'm sorry. Anyone else who doesn't understand, please read the whole blog  before you judge.


  1. I'm still here, if I'm the S you're thinking of. My outlook has been shifting a lot recently...but for the better I think. Academia will always be academia but I've come to the realization that anywhere that wouldn't want me because of my medical status is a place that I'd be crazy to go to. Personality thing, but good to recognize.

    I have catching up to do, and thinking as well. I'm with you on the sentiment...if I wanted to just let go and rant, the ranting would be endless. There's a weird duality here: academia/science is both unfriendly to those who fall outside the norm and yet one of the friendliest places to be if you look at the world as a whole. Caveat: I have little external experience to compare to. Certainly things like not paying into SS/SSDI until one gets a permanent position suck, esp when the mean age of first RO1 is over forty.

    I take hope from the fact that academia (for all it's bs and drama) sincerely seems to want to change. It may take a generational turnover for that to happen but at least the heartfelt desire seems to be there. I think we should hold ourselves (by which I mean all of science) to a higher ideal. But of course, that's the shortsighted idealistic view. And it's far easier said than done.

    I'm wavering on a cusp that may or may not exist...I could try and stay with the academic track (and my research is looking promising enough that such a course doesn't seem like a fantasy) or I could try to get involved with shaping the system (also, not a fantasy thanks to where I work.)

    I have no idea what to do, except that when it comes down to it, science is what drives me the most. What is better: my personal research, or the chance to shape policy for everyone in my situation? Tough call for many many reasons. Assuming I even have that choice...

    Still reading, still processing. Thanks for continuing to post tho'! Sci drama or no, I've been inspired by your writing! (I'm also most motivated to post when emotional, but for me...too much rantiness would be involved.)

    hope all is well,

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