In this essay I wrestle with how to represent myself in my published writing and indeed with how to think about myself as an academic writer. Usually these struggles do not find their way into print because they tend to be private, and they tend as well, I believe, to be quite ordinary, and in academia, some people think we should not write about the ordinary. I think that by writing about ordinary matters I can potentially help readers who are themselves trying to find their way into print understand the normality of their own struggles. Part of the struggle involves figuring out what I want my relationship to a field to be (and understanding that this relationship probably changes over time, and in my case at least that it is fraught with ambivalence). Another major part of this struggle involves developing a persona through writing that will not come back to haunt me in the future. I would like my discoursal self to be authoritative but not arrogant, humble but not groveling, optimistic but not Pollyannish, critical but not complaining, and committed to a field without seeming either enslaved to it or blind to “real life.” Constructing such a self can be tricky because I rarely see myself as, or feel, unified, and the result is
that my portrayals never quite ring true to me. Perhaps most people who write find, like me, that the “discoursal selves” (Ivaniþ, 1998) they portray in different writings, with or without the use of first-person pronouns, sometimes don’t feel genuine, authoritative, or whole.