November 22, 2010


With my heart skipping beats for fear of typos and my hands trembling for fear of writing some unknown academic faux pas in the cover e-mail, I have finally taken the leap.

I just submitted my first abstract for publication.

The volume is a book which will be published in 2012 and is set to be the foundational text for the new MA program in Vampire Literature at the University of Hertfordshire.  The papers selected are mostly being pulled from the 2010 conference (“Open Graves, Open Minds”) at which I was supposed to present, but was rudely prevented from leaving the country by an errant volcanic eruption.  Seriously.  You can’t make this stuff up, people.

The CFP requested an 800-900-word abstract of the paper (yay for already having written it! Abstracts are so much easier when the paper actually exists!) along with a 200 word bio.

I hate writing bios almost as much as I hate writing personal statements.  The only thing that mitigates the bio from being the most detested form of personal writing is the fact that by the time the bio is requested, one has usually already been accepted into conference, panel, etc. of the requester.  While I do have to impress with my bio, nothing hinges on it.  The people reading it are already stuck with me (or about to be stuck with me if it’s going to be read aloud somewhere).

As you may have noticed by now, I do things slightly differently.  I’m not the most reverent of conference presenters (though my papers are meticulous and utterly professional).  I bring slideshows.  I am energetic.  I don’t read straight from a sheet of paper.  In short, I perform.  In the bio, I have no chance to do that.  It’s like asking me to take myself and cram it into two hundred words.  There’s no room for personality in two hundred words!  More importantly, if you’re asking to look at a bio, you want to see how professional I can be, not how charming.  I can be professional, I assure you, but I’d much rather be charming.  It comes more naturally to me and (frankly) I think I’m better at it.

Part of me hesitated briefly and wondered if the British academes wouldn’t be thrilled by an utterly irreverent bio.  I mean, they are British after all!  Their country birthed Monty Python and Red Dwarf!  They must have senses of humor! 

….but if they didn’t, then I’d be really up the creek without a paddle.  I’m already at a disadvantage for being a mere lowly graduate student, I really shouldn’t discredit myself any further with witticisms over content.  Even if they were going to be spectacular witticisms. 

So I sent them a serious bio.  But I just couldn’t help myself… I had to write the silly one.  It called to me with its siren song, longing to be birthed into the world.  Since I didn’t send it to them (and since I figure if you’re still reading this blog I haven’t offended you with my offbeat points of view), I’m sticking it here for you to read and enjoy.

Danielle Rosvally is a recovering actor who earned a BA in legos from New York University.  After realizing that she had neither the patience, diligence nor social anxiety to qualify as a real computer scientist, she shifted her focus and instead set to studying something her parents (and good senses) told her she would never make into a viable career: Elizabethan Theatre.

In addition to her University education, she has also studied both the theory and practice of classical theatre at the American Globe Theatre, The Actor’s Institute, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare & Company.  None of these institutions knew quite what to make of her, so she turned to Rutgers for an MA in English.  They don’t know what to make of her either.

Her primary research interests are in the practical application of theatrical scholarship as well as theatricality in traditionally non-canonical texts (whatever that means).  She is a TA in the Rutgers Newark performing and visual arts department where she works with minions towards her greater purpose of world domination via Shakespeare in the classroom.  She also works as an independent educator in Shakespeare scholarship, acting and stage combat.  It’s a lot easier to bend the masses towards world domination when she doesn’t have a neurotic professor breathing down her neck.  She hopes to be a mostly benevolent dictator, but firmly believes that poor grammar is a high crime worthy of being striped down, placed in the town square, tarred, feathered, then stoned to death.  Unless it’s her own grammar, of course, that she will blame on the poor graduate student who edits her papers.

You may follow her exploits via her blog at

…so if you’ve got one of your own, I’d love to read it.  I really think one can tell more about a person by their sense of humor than their accomplishments.  It shows how willing he is to throw it all away and talk like a regular human rather than recitational parrot.  And anyone who can dispense with the traps of formality can easily prove that he actually knows the material in his heart rather than just in his head.  More importantly, it shows that a person isn’t too proud to laugh at himself.  And, my friends, I don’t care how many degrees I have.  If I ever lose that ability, please take me out to pasture with a none-too-friendly literary smack-down and bludgeon me to death with a Complete Works.  It will be well past my time to go.

1 comment:

Jack Lynch said...

My favorite all-time brief autobiographical sketch: a friend organized a conference a few years ago called Literary London, and Stanley Wells -- yes, that Stanley Wells -- submitted an abstract over the transom. (Of course, had anyone known he was interested, they would have made him the plenary speaker, but the slot was already taken.)

He submitted an abstract, but where it asked for a brief sketch, he wrote simply, "See Who's Who."