Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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).

moochas smoochas!

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Kim Hannula
    May 15, 2009

    Congratulations. That’s awesome.

  2. #2 Erin
    May 15, 2009

    *High five*

    We all knew you could, Grrl, but I’m glad you can see it for yourself :)

  3. #3 "GrrlScientist"
    May 15, 2009

    telling you all this makes me want to cry some more, but this time, because i am so happy that words escape me. to be honest, it has been eight years since i’ve cried for joy.

  4. #4 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 15, 2009

    w00t!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5 peter
    May 15, 2009

    congratulations!

  6. #6 Ed Yong
    May 15, 2009

    Congratulations Grrl – it’s richly deserved. Hopefully this’ll give you the encouragement you need to pursue this sort of thing further (if you want to obviously). From experience, getting a foot in the door is the hardest part. Now, you just have to wiggle it ;-)

  7. #7 Gini
    May 15, 2009

    HURRAY! A lantern in the darkness! Congratulations. :)

  8. #8 Sandra Porter
    May 15, 2009

    Congratulations! I’m happy for you!

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    May 15, 2009

    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.

    Blink. <expletive>

    You had doubts? Seriously? I’m not much given to cheerleading [1] but I would have told you that.

    Carry on; steady as she goes.

    [1] And a great disturbance was felt in the Farce, as coffee spewed all over the Net. Gotcha, suckahs!

  10. #10 Terry Sohl
    May 15, 2009

    Big congrats!! And Nature…nice!!!!

  11. #11 The Ridger
    May 15, 2009

    Yay!

    This is indeed wonderful news, and that it proves your worth to you is even better. You are a gifted writer; I look forward to reading the review.

  12. #12 Pierce R. Butler
    May 15, 2009

    Bravo!

    You go, Grrl!

  13. #13 Christopher Gwyn
    May 15, 2009

    _Good_.

  14. #14 John
    May 15, 2009

    Congratulations!

  15. #15 Jeff Knapp
    May 15, 2009

    You go! Big time congrats Grrl! Believe me, I know what it’s like to be down like this. All I can say is, one day at a time. Take it one day at a time. I (and a lot of others) believe very strongly in your strength, intelligence, and abilities. It is a very tough fight but, you are winning. Getting a review accepted into nature, not bad at all! I’m really happy for you.

  16. #16 "GrrlScientist"
    May 15, 2009

    thank you, everyone. i floundered and suffered these past five years, but this is a tiny ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark world.

    it doesn’t solve my problems, but it is a small deposit in my bank account of hope, which has been seriously overdrawn these past five bleak years.

  17. #17 Marilyn Terrell
    May 15, 2009

    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    But of course you deserve to be published in Nature– duh!

  18. #18 Bob O'H
    May 16, 2009

    You had doubts? Seriously? I’m not much given to cheerleading [1] but I would have told you that.

    Many have, but Grrl’s lack of self confidence is a marvel to behold. Perhaps now she’ll believe me.

  19. #19 bioephemera
    May 16, 2009

    congrats, Grrl! That’s excellent news and well-deserved too.

  20. #20 Shilpa.R
    May 16, 2009

    Well done and congratulations, GrrlScientist! I hope this break in the clouds illuminates other opportunities for you to showcase your excellent abilities-the world needs, NEEDS more people like you!

    Cheering for you with glee and a glad heart all the way from Sydney, Australia.

    Go GrrlScientist go! :)

  21. #21 HerpGrrrl
    May 16, 2009

    Congratulations!!! That is such fabulous news!

    You have what it takes. Believe it. And you have worked very hard for it.

  22. #22 blf
    May 16, 2009

    Please allow me to chirp in with my own congratulations.

    Chirp… chirp… chirpity-chirp!

  23. #23 Juuro
    May 16, 2009

    As many have noted alredy, there is very little doubt about you writing very readable, expressive, informative, direct and enjoyable text.
    Now that you have more authoritative source for that valuation than just a bunch of pixel-stained technonomads and -peasants, perhaps you’ll feel better about marketing those obvious skills.

  24. #24 arby
    May 16, 2009

    woot!!!, woot!!! indeed! Congratulations, rb

  25. #25 leigh
    May 16, 2009

    Yep, you’re good. And you didn’t realize it?!

  26. #26 Coturnix
    May 16, 2009

    Totally awesome!!!!!

  27. #27 Sammy
    May 17, 2009

    We all know you’re an awesome writer, so I’m glad you’ve realized it as well. And it’s sooo nice to finally see something good happen for you! Congrats Grrl, you deserve it!

  28. #28 "GrrlScientist"
    May 17, 2009

    thanks everyone. i know this sounds silly to you, but when a person suffers from a lack of self-confidence (and this is so easy when unemployed, especially when unemployed long-term), it tends to pervade every aspect of her (or his) life. so tiny things like this tend to make a huge difference in outlook. i am hoping this will make a permanent difference on my outlook, but we shall see.

  29. #29 Rob
    May 18, 2009

    That’s really great news. I hope that this is the beginning of a series of good things.

  30. #30 Greg Laden
    May 21, 2009

    Nice going. Can’t wait to see it!

  31. #31 MadScientist
    May 25, 2009

    OK, OK, so I’m slow – but congratulations! :)

    I hope things are looking up for you too; I’m still going through one of those long stretches of years that suck, but I figure things have got to get better. I just hope it’s not the mythical “septem annos horribilis” of the bible – bad luck I can take, but the bible is a bit much.

  32. #32 biosparite
    June 11, 2009

    Let’s not forget that your excellent writing is also accompanied by your being a cool, witty, highly-intelligent, delightful and all-around great Grrl!

  33. #33 David Harmon
    June 12, 2009

    Congratulations!

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