James Batcho, PhD | A Disseratation is Not a Book
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A Disseratation is Not a Book

WALNUT CREEK. Much has changed over the past 10 months. In fact, those months constituted one of the most challenging periods of my life. But somewhere, within the imprecise duration of spring turning into summer, I found myself in a midst of a rebirth. Now, as summer comes to a close, I feel fantastic. I returned to Chiang Mai, where I also returned to playing the drums, and took a couple of motorbike trips into the Northern Thai mountains.

I decided in November that Beijing was not a city for me and that I would not be persuing a new contract. I enjoyed the relationships I made there, and the students were quite simply wonderful. But I found the environment unhealthy, and a 5/5 teaching load proved too restrictive at a point when my research is at its most fertile. August therefore finds me in search of a new, hopefully more long-term, position.

Despite the struggles, my research continued. In fact it was the thing that kept me going. I managed to complete a draft of my book over the summer. But after querying a few publishers and receiving rejections I decided to set it aside and gain some distance from it. Thankfully it came at a time when I was presented with two new journal essay projects. I welcome the intervention and change in focus. Turning a dissertation into a book is no small undertaking. And although the book draft was vastly different and much improved from that manuscript, I found that I was still too close to research mode and did not make the necessary advances in generating a compelling, readable text, which is what it needs to be. The ideas are there, but as a read, it is lacking. I will return to it at the beginning of October with fresh eyes and with an aim to completing it by the end of the year.