The Head of School emailed the Librarian this morning to say that she thought that, while Co-Author's second chapter was clearly "less polished" than my first chapter, it was after all just a draft and that we were supposed to be about collaboration and helping each other and so we should assume that Co-Author would eventually write a better version of the chapter (with Librarian's and my help) and that we should keep the arrangement just as it is now and move full-steam ahead.
Fortunately, Librarian is super pissed off about this, especially about the fact that the Head of School consulted with our development director about it and clearly put her feedback over the Librarian's, the Archivist's, and mine. Not that the development director doesn't have an important role here -- she's raising the money that makes this project possible -- but she's hardly someone I'd turn to for writing advice, so I share the Librarian's disgust. Plus, it's completely obvious to the Librarian and me that this "just a draft" business is completely missing the point, since Co-Author insists that it's an amazing draft that she's really not willing to change all that much.
So the Librarian has pushed back. The Head of School said something like "let's just keep going, although we can certainly talk more if you think we need to," and the Librarian promptly emailed back to say "yeah, we need to" and then to outline even more assertively all that was wrong with Co-Author's approach. She also forwarded to the Head of School a very frank evaluation of the revised chapter that the Archivist had written. So we'll see how the Head of School replies.
And, at the Librarian's request, I spent this evening carefully annotating the revised second chapter, making comments and using two different colors of highlighter, one to indicate inadequate research/unsupportable assertions and the other to indicate bad prose. (I did this in Notability, which it turns out is great for shorter papers but gets slow and clunky when one is dealing with a 32-page document.) This was both kind of therapeutic and also pretty damned depressing, since I kept not being able to believe that the Head of School couldn't see all of these problems. And then I wrote up a page or so of global comments expressing my deep concerns about the chapter.
So here's the deal: I simply cannot have my name associated with this work. So if the Head of School insists that we not change anything in the co-authoring relationship, I have a decision to make. It seems to me that there are two options: (1) I walk away from the project, which would be easier if I weren't the sole bread-winner and in need of money; or (2) I keep writing and earning money but don't allow my name to appear on the cover, which would help with the financial project but would feel pretty shitty (although ghost-writers do it all the time). I have told the Librarian this, and she is going to use that information, as well as my annotated version of the chapter and my global comments, as seems best in her judgment in her ongoing war against the status quo with this project.
At least there was good news today: D. felt great about her on-campus interview! She loved the school, loved the people and felt really good about the interviews, and apparently totally rocked the sample class. Now, she may well not get the job -- she's the last of three finalists to be on campus, and the department head made some noises about how this would be such a difficult decision, and she'd already told D. that she has the least experience of all of the candidates -- but it was great experience and makes her feel more confident about the second campus interview she has on Tuesday. So if she could get a job for next year, it would make option (1) -- walking away from the FGS history altogether -- easier to contemplate, although I would still be sad about it. But better sad than ongoing frustration leading inevitably to bitterness.
Oops -- I meant to end on a positive note and then went negative at the end after all. Sigh.