Saturday, September 01, 2007


Francis Bay, USVI. Photo: QT Luong

I've mentioned vacation a few times now: in terms of vacation as a socio-economic policy issue, and in terms of personally trying to go on one this summer. Labor Day weekend was once again supposed to be a vacation, and once again it was foiled. As late as about 8pm yesterday, I was looking for reasonable last-minute airfares to fly out of DC this morning for a three- or four- day weekend. Found a cheap one to the Virgin Islands - a bit too touristy for my tastes, but feasible, and I was ready to go immediately - but other things then conspired against purchasing it on the spot. Sigh....

I've also mentioned that I've been working on a major grant proposal to set up a center with me as director. If it happens (i.e., if it's funded), you'll know. But now the grant organization I'm seeking money from has asked that I write a sub-grant for the major grant that's already submitted. Fine, more money.

I now imagine myself burrowing deep into the world of grants, writing a grant proposal for each step along the way, each idea I have, every time I want something, every time I move. I write proposals to write proposals. I write and write, finding that whether I turn left or right when I leave the house requires a grant proposal, that Vietnamese versus Peruvian for dinner demands a new carefully-worded grant proposal, that the menu decision over whether to order the fried fish or the flat noodles requires approval from a major grant provider. The benefit to a world full of grants would be that they say, "Vietnamese, good choice!" and pick up the dinner tab.

In between, I work on my books. One done this year, another going to press this fall, a third starting up, and the fourth a longer-term volume I would do if that time weren't filled up with grant proposals.

I know this is no grand tragedy, and I'm lucky to have such choices. It's not much of a sob story, but it is a story about work in America. Regardless, even though the product of the grant proposals means I'm paid to do the things I love to do, it also means that, once again, I can't have this:

Leinster Bay, USVI. Photo: QT Luong

Or even this:

Uploaded by Martin Kalfatovic


troutsky said...

Could you provide some information on how to find your book(s)?
We at CAJA gave up on foundation grants altogether, To many compromises.That leaves us broke, but pure!

MT said...

This idea sounds really promising. I wonder if you could just write it up as a formal proposal. We'll review it, and if all goes well you could be blogging about this again commence late '08/early '09.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Truly Exceptional Lodging at the Paradise may exceed my per diem allowances.

Professor Pea

helmut said...

Troutsky - the torture collection is in print only as a special journal issue,not yet as the book. See here:

I'd probably to a blog proposal (you can do comment proposals) if the stipend was reasonable.