In which I can put it off no longer

Summer has slipped away from London, as it seems to do every year around this time – the air has an autumnal coolness and raindrops patter against lab windows. We Londoners work around this, as we do around so many other inconveniences, picking blackberries between cloudbursts or catching a quick, chilly swim in the Hampstead Mixed Ponds after work.

It’s a false autumn, and no doubt hotter weather is around the corner, but such seasonal mimicry still evokes deeply rooted, atavistic feelings of transition in me. I myself at am a turning point. Not five minutes ago I clicked the shiny ‘submit’ button on my revised manuscript, after having addressed all the referees’ criticisms to the best of my ability.

This means that, hopefully soon, there will be nothing between me and the need to start writing for independent funding. Over the past months, as I’ve worked hard on experiments to finish the paper, I’ve been snatching background reading whenever I could. And I have a rough idea how I want to structure my proposed project. But what I’ve lacked is the luxury of time and a cleared desk to truly do it justice. Until now.

For me, the biggest challenge will be trying to fit some loose ends into the main project. I have a few exciting lines of research I’m working on now that I’d love to carry on with alongside, but I need to work them into the bigger picture of the new project. Fortunately I have a knack for narrative, so I look forward to this aspect. Such a refreshing contrast, too, from working on a revised manuscript, where you dwell on every last little excruciating detail from the past until it all blurs together into a page full of random pixels.

So bring on the future, and all those wonderful biological questions that remain to be answered!

About Jennifer Rohn

Scientist, novelist, rock chick
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20 Responses to In which I can put it off no longer

  1. Scott says:

    Which in sum means that you are writing yourself a path ahead. I don’t know where it will lead for you (and there’s no skipping to the last page to cheat!), but I’m glad that it means that there are prospects, and, as you write your characters in your novels, you are at least partially in control.

    Write well, looking forward to your next chapter!

  2. ricardipus says:


    Sorry, thought your very nice post needed an energetic counterpoint. Best of luck with the revised manuscript, and in articulating your future plans. I know your grant will read beautifully, so here’s hoping that set of reviewers appreciate it. 🙂

  3. cromercrox says:

    Blackberries. Bloody hell. And it’s only mid-July. Mind you, the fruit on the apple tree in the Jardin Des Girrafes is swelling to unseasonably large volumes. Recently, one fell off and bonked Mrs Crox on the conk.

  4. stephenemoss says:

    Jenny – good luck with the paper, and the sight of those blackies reminds me that I must get down to the park this weekend with a suitable receptacle.

  5. Thanks, all. Meanwhile, we’ll all await Mrs. Crox’s amazing new law of physics to be more fully developed!

    Our apples seem nearly ready too, but so far all the windfalls have been too sour. We’ve got ripe toms, though, and too many spuds and beans.

  6. rpg says:

    You can never have too many spuds and beans.

  7. cromercrox says:

    Our toms have just about flowered… probably not enough light in the Polytunnel Des Girrafes. We are having a gorgeous sunny patio made, so we might bring them out into the light and see what happens. We have had lots of lovely new potatoes though, and more lettuces than you could shake a flopsy bunny at. Oh yes, and cucumbers. Nothing like a concombre from one’s own plot to ad to a salad.

  8. @stephenemoss says:

    What is this – a forum for cutting edge scientific debate, or gardener’s world? Actually, I’m attempting melons in a cold frame for the first time this year. Could do with a little more warmth if they’re going to ripen before the first frosts.

  9. cromercrox says:

    Never a truer word like wot she is spoke.

  10. What sort of melon?

  11. @stephenemoss says:

    These are Charentais. Ate melons last year, kept seeds, planted this year, bingo.

  12. Interesting to see if they breed true…sometimes what you buy ends up producing sterile seeds, or fruit that doesn’t resemble the parent. As far as I’m concerned that’s all part of the fun! Good luck.

  13. rpg says:

    See? It *is* “a forum for cutting edge scientific debate” as well as Gardener’s World.

    The power of the woman.

  14. @stephenemoss says:

    The whole melon thing is clearly much more an experiment that an attempt to re-create River Cottage in East Finchley. Will post progress photos in due course.

  15. cromercrox says:

    Just back from a lunchtime walk through the woods to the clifftops above Cromer and back with Mrs Crox, Canis primus croxorum and Canis secundus croxorum.

    In the interests of science I paid special attention to the blackberry bushes along the route. They’ve set a lot of fruit but it’s all still green, which is why I was surprised to see Jenny’s ripe urban blackberries. I suspect climatic differences between Cromer and London – Cromer is a lot cooler, on the whole (though much nicer).

  16. Frank says:

    Hmm, not many rivers in N2, let alone cottages!

  17. Green fruit here in Gloomchester too, ‘cos we’re way cool an’ all. Only in a ‘urban well cool’ way. As well as temperature.

    Mad fer it, innit, like…

  18. cromercrox says:

    Wet, too.

  19. ricardipus says:

    It’s insanely hot here, but still only two cherry tomatoes so far, and a few raspberries. Ok, it’s Canada, whatever.

  20. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    We haven’t had more than two or three days of sunshine in a row since September here on the Wet Coast (sadly I am not exaggerating at all – June was dubbed Juneuary, and the whole damn season has now been officially written off as a Bummer Summer). As a result, my usually overloaded plum, pear and fig trees have produced approximately five still tiny and rock-hard fruits between them. We usually can’t give the plums away fast enough at this time of year. Bah humbug!

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