I have been pinching myself for the past three weeks for two reasons: first I have good news to share with you and second, I was afraid that my good news was a dream that I’d awaken from.
My good news is that I just sent off a book review to be published in Nature magazine. Nature? you say .. Do you mean .. ?
Why, yes, I do mean … !
I don’t yet know when it will appear in print, but believe me, as soon as I know, you’ll know! (aaand the author will know, and the book publisher, editors and publicity agents will know) Additionally, I am working on a longer version of this book review that says everything else I wanted to include in my review but couldn’t (unlike blogs, Nature has a word limit, what are they thinking?) and that will appear here soon.
I view this accomplishment as a tiny payment on the huge debt of gratitude I owe all of you, dear readers, for having faith in me during these especially dark and challenging times. A good number of you have helped me with continued encouragement, gifts of food, clothing and beautiful, precious books, and even with monetary donations so I can keep my apartment — a fair number of you wish to remain anonymous, but you know who you are.
I especially wish to thank my friends and colleagues, Ed Yong, whose lyrical writing inspires and intimidates me, and particularly Bob O’Hara, whose creative mind and keen eye inspire and motivate me. Both provided kind encouragement and valuable editorial input. I also wish to thank another person (do you wish to remain anonymous in this context? If so, let me refer to you as “Heidi and the chickens”) for helping me get this writing assignment in the first place. I owe all of you a beer (but beer is so generic compared to how I feel so I know I am going to give each of you a big, teary hug when I see you next).
What does this mean for me? I will be paid a hundred dollars and change (depending upon when I’m paid, and the exchange rate, etc). This is a decent paycheck for a book review, which pays $25-30, but it’s small compensation for the time and effort invested and it certainly won’t keep the wolves at bay. Less tangible but probably more valuable, I have proven to others — and especially to myself — that I can produce quality writing that I am proud of for a high-profile journal (when given the opportunity) while enduring some of the most challenging and frightening circumstances I’ve been faced with since I lost my postdoctoral funding. It wasn’t easy; I’ve cried a lot and lost a tremendous amount of sleep due to dramatic (bad) changes in my life situation, but I still managed to focus well enough to produce something worthy — worthy of Nature.