Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Stormy afternoon

I have been sitting on the front porch watching a summer thunderstorm roll in over the Wet Mountains First a grey veil is drawn across the most distant ridge, leading up to Hardscrabble Mountain. Holt Mountain, which is nearer, is obscured in turn, and then I can hear the hissing of rain on oak leaves and pine needles as the storm comes closer, and then, suddenly, the first drops are tapping loudly on the metal roof above me. I had already shut down my desktop computer and pulled the plug on the surge protector, since lightning bolts are stabbing downward too. When I go indoors to write on the PowerBook (on battery), syncopated raindrops rattle on the disused stove pipe rising from the study.

It's been a split day. For two hours I was a landlord, mowing and trimming and fertilizing at the rental cabin, taking advantage of the dry (for a change) morning and the fact that this week's guests, a thirty-something couple from Denver with their golden retriever, had gone hiking. (They timed it right and were back just ahead of the storm.)

Before and after that, I was an editor and book publicist, compiling a list of possible review sources where Routledge's New York office might send The Paganism Reader. They know most of the standard religious-studies journals, but they probably do not yet have The Pomegranate in their files, and apparently they do not know about PanGaia either. And chatting on the telephone with the editor of a forthcoming anthology on church-and-state issues about running one of its contributions in The Pomegranate. And replying to an e-mail from yet one more religious-studies graduate student who is working on contemporary Paganism and who needs to be brought up to speed about The Pom, about this year's Pagan studies conference, and, who knows, about eventually turning her dissertation into a book for AltaMira's Pagan studies series.

The editorial assistant at Equinox Publishing sent PDF files of ads for some of their books and journals, including The Pom, that will be running in the Association for the Sociology of Religion's annual meeting program book, and in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. That's wonderful; it is the sort of publicity that we could never have managed earlier when The Pom was basically a two-person operation (Fritz Muntean and Diana Tracy, plus other helpers, and eventually me.) We have also arranged to be added to Religion and Theology Abstracts, which will be a big help for researchers. Fritz has sent them the CD-ROM of back issues, which were never indexed anywhere--five years' worth!--so one of these days, those will be available to subscribers. There are a couple more databases that we need to be listed in as well. Until then, as far as academic research is concerned, we are invisible, which is no good at all.


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