chapter  6
30 Pages

Bending the Rules

It was during my once-in-a-lifetime year-long sabbatical in 1998-1999 that I realized with great clarity that I was on the other side of a long career in second language education. There had been signs of this before, that I no longer considered myself moving, or needing to move, “up” in my career even though there was room to do so, and that I was exploring ways to move in other directions (sideways? in circles? zigzag? out?). But it was during this year that I renewed my late life commitment to bending some rules by conceptualizing a book (this one) that fit some of the conventions but not others. The construction of this book, and my reflection on the author-editor relationship in the construction of an edited book of personal narratives (discussed in the third section of this chapter) both brought me face to face with my own publishing history and the conflicted motivations behind it. I begin this chapter with some of those reflections as a way to introduce the theme of this chapter-the tensions between adhering to and bending the perceived rules of academic writing games. The reflections have helped explain why I both like and dislike writing, why I tolerate the ups and downs in my mood as I write, and why I resist convention and tradition yet submit to them more often than I am comfortable admitting.