Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Feeling glum

Things aren't going so well on the research front at the moment. I'm heavily tied up in two taught MA modules at the moment, so the dissertation has been on the back burner, but a letter received today plus the lack of response from potential interviewees has left me a bit down in the dumps.

I've had my application for funding to research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas next Spring rejected. No specific reason has been given so I've asked for some more detailed feedback. Obviously failing to secure travel/accommodation money is a blow, but not insurmountable. This was my first application, and hopefully I'll be able to find funding elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I've yet to hear from Paul Haney - a key NASA public affairs spokesman in Gemini/early Apollo times, and latterly ITN's expert on the moon landings. A guy at the New Mexico Museum of Space History put me in touch with Mr Haney - but he hasn't yet got back to me.

Perhaps rather less surprisingly, those Apollo astronauts scheduled to be in the UK this weekend for an autograph show - Lovell, Scott and Brand among them - haven't responded to my requests for interview. Somehow I think it's sad that their appearances are now rationed to money-making zoo shows - and I doubt it's what they or NASA had planned 30 years ago. it's tempting to shell out a tenner and join the queues anyway....but I really don't want a three second hello and an expensive autograph, I want to run through a set of research questions with them that will add first-person experience to a piece of academic research. I'm rapidly getting the impression though that I'm a bit naive and over-optimistic!

Anyway, I'm realising I really don't rate on the academic historian scale at all yet. I recently submitted an article to a magazine and got no response at all - nothing, not even a two word 'no thanks'.

When the targeted magazine came out, they'd covered the subject using a piece I'd already seen in a US publication. That certainly put me in my place!

I can live with rejections - they're a part of my working life in corporate communications. But it's doubly galling to hear nothing at all. That builds up false hope, even a false sense that things are going well.

Anyway, rant over. It's up to me now to get things back on track.

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