I'm going to go see today what someone OUTSIDE of my department thinks of my academic work. And I'm terrified. And it's totally silly.
The paper I'm giving today "Prospero's Magic: Magia or Goetia?" is a good paper. I got an A on it 3 years ago (after rewriting the whole thing over Christmas break). God, I'm such a dork for judging myself based on grades, but what person goes to grad school who didn't? In fact, I'm going to be giving the same paper in a few weeks at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, where it's entered in the Grad Student Award competition (I could use the $250 to help pay for the trip). But even though I'm being judged there too, I'm not worried about it. I know the audience there. They are, in many cases, my friends. True colleagues, in the emotional sense of collegial.
Today, I'm presenting at MU's Research and Creative Activities Forum. Basically, the GPC (Graduate and Professional Council, which represents all the grad students, plus those in the Med and Law Schools) brings in professors from outside MU to judge the work of those of us who are brilliant enough to submit it. There are 7 people in the "Humanities" category, and I'm not sure if the creative writers and I are directly competing or not. I'm the only name I recognize from my dept. who's not in the CW program. And I'm afraid I'm going to sound stupid. Anyhow, some portion up to the 7 of us in Humanities are competing for a single prize (the dollar amount of which I can't currently recall). Again, I could use it to help pay for my trip to ICFA later this month. Which is the whole reason I entered. I was a lot more confident about this a month ago.
If I win (which is looking less and less likely as my pre-presentation paranoia/pessimism sets in), I fully intend to crow in the department newsletter. Although they probably won't see it this way, I can choose to interpret it as rubbing my former committee's nose in the idea that I really do know what I'm doing, and they're too close-minded to recognize it.
Pray for me. Not necessarily to win (I always feel bad about asking God to intervene in something so trivial), but just to get through it without looking incredibly stupid. Just let me answer the Q&A without any major gaffes. Luckily, I don't have to worry about pronunciation--everything's Latin or Italian, and 8 years of school choirs at least taught me how to do the vowels. And how to breathe. I need to remember that.
Now I need to go take a shower and start getting ready.