While I may work for an obscure academic journal that charge ransom levels for subscriptions, and while the readership is stuffy literary professors located throughout the world, there is such a thing as crunch time even in publishing, I’ve found out now.

I’m working on the weekend now. Now, normally the other intern would have worked, but I became ill midweek and was absent for a couple of days. Thus, I put my best foot forward, and volunteered to take this weekend from him. I didn’t have to ask him twice. Normally I would not have expected to work weekend until the next issue in a month’s time.

Strangely enough, the work I normally do is mentally draining. I must be very thorough. I made the mistake of not being thorough during my first week here, and being asked into the boss’ office (“Close the door, Colin!”) is not something I want to experience again. A long, and very forensic, skewering of my failings in a particular task is bad for the ego and the self-esteem. I have learned my lesson. I won’t do that again. Now, I’m very, very thorough.

My online life is suffering because when I come home, I head for the sofa and disconnect the brain. I put on my headphones, load up a playlist, and become a zombie for an hour or two until dinner time. It feels as if I’m neglecting everything online because I’m too exhausted to do anything else but eat and sleep during the week. I’m away from home for 10-11 hours each day. I want to enjoy every remaining moment with Mark.

Now, here I sit, on a Saturday, and there’s actually nothing to do. The staff is busy running around like ants on fire so that they get everything ready for the printing press. But despite me asking nearly everyone, there’s nothing here for me to do. I just have to be here, in case…

You see usually I do research, check facts, look up references in other academic journals, and read articles in archives that deal with the same stuff that the articles contain. Those stuffy old professors have little patience for factual errors, and there is a well-founded fear of hand-written letters to the editors from them. They tend not to do email. Post-delivered hand-written letters are according to the shared experience absolutely dreadful.

The stuff that’s going into the journal has been written. It has been fact-checked. It has been verified and contextualized. My fingerprints are all over the paper copies of all that. Unless the staff have to write something entirely new because of some new thing, there’s no more research to be done. And the stuff that’s written now goes into print in three months, around Christmas, so there’s nothing current that could happen. We don’t do current affairs in this field.

Today I have spent most of the day feeling very guilty and in the way when everybody has been busy and stressed and hectic. After the not-so-subtle signs that I was, mostly, in the way, I have built playlists and have written this blog post instead. In an hour I can go home.

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