Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big steps!

I'm not sure if I should be posting every week or simply a blurb every day... maybe I'll start doing both, just to keep my self-accountable!

I've been in Philadelphia for a whirlwind trip inspired by the MACBS (Mid-Atlantic Conference of British Studies).  My sweet husband picked me up at the airport and there were a vase of lilies waiting for me at his small apartment.  My pudgy cat lovingly offered me his belly every chance he got, and even though I foolishly didn't bring along a jacket (it was 80 in St. Louis when I left!) even the cold Philadelphia air was welcome simply because it was familiar.

To be honest, I was rather nervous about this conference, even though I've done this at least a dozen times.  It was predominantly historians and I wasn't familiar with the practice of sending in your paper two weeks in advance--I'm more of the edit it until the hour you present kind of girl! Also, it's extremely difficult to whittle 70+ pages into 11 refined (and impressive) ones.  So I sent off my draft a week late but my panel leader was very kind and didn't comment on how many changes appeared in the draft I read.  At every panel, the chair would offer commentary and feedback on each presenter: she recommended I incorporate more information on how Thackeray's fictions were received (reviews and such) and consider how that inevitably shaped his writings on Englishness.  Also, two professors from Temple (who were kind enough to let me join there British Studies group when I adjuncted there) sat in and offered their support.  And... I now have an outside reader! Woohooo!  Plus, my wonderful friend Val had me over for a lovely brunch and introduced me to one of her colleagues from another Philadelphia University: "M" is also a Victorian and offered her support, to read pages, offer links, conferences to take part in, etc.  During my last foray into academia I felt critiqued and unsupported, but this week has been incredible and I'm grateful for the intelligent and welcoming British scholars I've been lucky enough to meet!

What I learned from the conference: after feedback from my panel chair, the various panels I observed, and an interesting  round-table on interdisciplinary learning is I need to approach my historical critiques methodically, carefully.  I'm not simply doing literary criticism here, which is as I prefer it, but it makes it more complicated.  I still have a lot to learn about Anglo-India, and want to locate more contemporary reviews of Thackeray's fictions, particularly concerning his portrayals of other groups.

But I'm back in St. Louis, Blue greeted me with immense excitement and won't let me out of his sight.  Craig arrives in mid-April to help me drive back to Pennsylvania.  Next step: move into the cottage at the lake.  I'll finish CH 2 this month and hopefully CH 3 in May, CH 4 June, CH 5 July, and defend in early fall.  I can do this!

My blog-co-writer Liana has the sharp idea that we start exchanging pages, I think it's a good one!  More soon...

Friday, March 25, 2011

So What?

"So what? Why does that matter?"

This week, as I talked thesis statements with my students, I found myself asking the same thing over and over. I love doing this, pushing their ideas just a little farther. Little did they know that I've been struggling with the same question for the past two years. I don't think about it every day, but it is always in the back of my mind.

I met a professor for lunch this week. She asked me about my research; in the past this would frustrate me, and I even got to the point where I told people not to ask me. When she asked me, I was excited to talk about what I had been up to, even if I still don't have a clear answer to my questions. (Being physically away from your academic community for months will do that to you.) Like I had with my students the day before, she pushed my ideas further and brought up things I hadn't considered. Instead of feeling frustrated, I made mental notes to write about when I got home.

I confessed to her that there were a lot of questions I still hadn't answered, the big one being "so what? Why talk about home?" She nodded in agreement, but of course had no possible answers for me. I've been looking for the answer since the day that question made its first appearance, one day I was talking to one of my field examiners. He asked me "so why home? Why is it important to talk about home in a day and age where populations are so mobile and have different allegiances?" Of course I'm paraphrasing. But that's not the point. He asked me "why?" I hadn't stopped to think about that. I think I just assumed it was important because it was exciting and relevant to me.

Assuming: big mistake.

I sat there and stumbled over academic buzzwords that I had picked up from years of being in the graduate classroom. But I knew I didn't have an answer. He said it was okay, but that I had to keep this in mind. I guess it was on the back burner until recently.

So now I'm obsessed with the "so what?" question. I should be revising. Instead, I can't stop thinking about why I am writing about home. And it's inevitable that home comes back to me. I could go on and on about the state of Puerto Rican studies and making connections between disciplines. But I feel the urge to say "home matters to me. It just does. It's been stuck on my skin ever since we left. This dissertation is my way of paying my respects to my NYC home, the one I had to leave behind. The one I may never go back to. You know what they say, you can never go back home." But is that enough in this project? I wonder.

Dear readers, how have you articulated the "so what?" of your dissertations?

Bonus track: here's Kanye West's "Homecoming." It's part of the playlist I had on repeat on my iPod that semester I wrote on representations of home in rap. That's the same semester I realized I wanted to write my dissertation on home.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Less prep... more write

So I think things have been going well... as noted in my "tweet," I reread and copied notes from Major Gahagan, this incredible but somehow overlooked early Thackeray novella: it's narrated by this Barry Lyndon type-braggart (Irish of course) as he retells his adventures while serving the British army in India in the first decade of the 1800s.  I think I already shared the episode where he "almost" married Julia Jowler, the Colonel's daughter who is 1/4 native; Gahagan is willing to "overlook" this for her beauty, but abandons her when he realizes that during his absence she married an Indian Raj ("Chowder Loll," whom Gahagan kills in battle) and had his child.  I want to explore how she's suddenly an unacceptable bride, not because she's a widow and mother, but "contaminated" by having married a native.  Still, I'm very wary of one-dimensional postcolonial readings...

I also read three interesting articles: Norton's "The Ex-Collector of Boggley-Wollah: Colonialism in the Empire of Vanity Fair," (a little less Bahktin & Foucault would be awesome...), Perkin's response to Norton's article ( a big Said fan himself), and this brilliant article from a history journal: Sivasundaram's “The East India Company's Elephants in India and Britain.” He tracks the East India Company's relationship with elephants, what they represent to 19th century imperial culture, and concludes with the significance of the horrific account of Chuny, the Indian elephant brought to London for show and horrifically put down in 1826 when he turned violent (seriously, look it up, you'll cry...)

But, the gem of this week's research is a reference in Sivasundaram's article to a 1911 book by F.B. Bradley-Birt entitled ‘Sylhet’ Thackeray.  I found it online (for free!), hoping for, but not counting on, a significant connection.  There were a LOT of Thackerays in 19th century Englannd.  

I learned A) Sylhet is a place in India and B) the book is about the original William Makepeace Thackeray, aka, Bill Thack's paternal grandfather and his distinguished career in India in the second half of the 18th century.  So many of the events recounted are foundational to Major Gahagan and even Vanity Fair.  The craziest event entails Willy T senior purchasing 60 elephants for the East India Company and marching them to a designated location.  Six elephants die along the way and the rest, understandably, arrive in rough shape.  The EIC refuses to pay Willy T Sr., leading to a bunch of legal drama.  Also, while there, he ultimately fins his bride and witnesses the displaced British marriage market (matches were not focused on love, but money and social standing), a social aberration which Thackeray criticizes throughout his novels.

After contemplating all of this in conjunction with his letters, relevant criticism and  his fictions, I'm coming to find that yes, Thackeray was racist, particularly in terms of interracial relationships; in addition to common 19th century prejudice, I believe this stems from his issues with his father's half-Indian daughter.  And yes, he supported the "Christian," "civilizing" mission of empire, but he uses his satire to critique what he sees as problematic about Englishness that's simply been transplanted into the British colonies: social climbing, dirty politics, greed, unnecessary warfare, vanity, etc.  This will make more sense shortly...

On a personal note, I'm working but need to work faster, and smarter, take a tip from Liana who cranked out 4 pages today!  I'm in my old mode of reading and typing up notes for days and days and not producing! I'm presenting on Saturday and hoped to include pages on India, so here we go...


Nothing much happened today in the dissertation department. I spent most of the day grading and taking care of Miss E. However, I didn't beat myself up too much because yesterday I had a whole 3 hours--3 hours!--to work. And I did. I wrote 4 and a half glorious pages.

I've become so accustomed to producing little bits day by day, that I had forgotten what it felt like to sit down and write for a lengthy period of time. As JD says in Scrubs: "It. Was. Awesome." The feeling of following a line of thought, freewriting, thumbing through an article and not have to worry about the clock (sort of) was liberating. I believe it liberated me to think and to write. Now, I think I will change my schedule around a bit and spend more afternoons just sitting down and writing.

Switching things around scares me a bit though. My big New Year's Resolution was to make my dissertation a priority, and the way I enabled that was by working every day at the same time. So far it has worked, although sometimes it puts a crinkle in my days off from school. I like working in the morning. Yesterday Radioguy and I were talking about the importance of having a routine to develop your craft and getting your creativity jumpstarted. He thinks it's better to make a point of writing at some point in the day, whereas I think a schedule works better, at least for me. Both strategies are good, but I feel like I need a more structured approach (did I mention I am a professional procrastinator?). Dissertating in the afternoon the days I teach would allow me the two or three unfettered hours for writing and thinking when I used to grade or lesson plan. However, this is also the moment of the day when I start to feel myself unwinding and yawning. A lot. That's part of the reason why I worry about switching things: I know myself. I will find excuses to stop at Target instead of driving straight to a cafe. I will go to the grocery store. All because I am tired but can't drive home yet.

So this is food for thought. I won't be able to put my new plan in action until Radioguy comes back (the babysitting schedule has changed with him being away in AZ), but until then I'll hold on to the feeling of accomplishment: Four and a half pages.

What did I write about? Well, I focused on Bremer. I have decided to include a lengthy discussion of Sidney Bremer's essay "Home in Harlem, New York: Lessons from the Harlem Renaissance Writers." When I first read this essay, I panicked. All this time I had been wondering "how do I define 'home'? how do these authors define 'home'?" Bremer had it there, between pages 47 and 48. But instead of thinking "I have to rewrite my whole dissertation!" I decided to focus on how I am expanding and complicating her definition of home. I thought this discussion might be better off in the introduction, but I really can't bring myself to talk about Hughes, Perdomo, and Harlem as a homespace without introducing Bremer. I guess later on I can fix that, once I am working on the introduction.

What I like about Bremer's work in general is that Bremer is challenging the universality of the image of urban alienation as inherent to the experience in city spaces. These three dimensions that she points out (her words: “Harlem as home—place, community, aspiration”) that I shall be conversing with in my discussion of Perdomo and Hughes. I am expanding, adding to her argument by including the Puerto Rican writers, and putting them in conversation with African-American writers and their views on home. In that sense I am using her conceptualization of home, but I hope to also add depth to it. I'm trying to be very careful to delineate her ideas and distinguish them from mine.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As per my twitter feed (susaneveray)

As per my twitter feed: "
reread Thackeray's Major Gahagan (in India), copied key passages, typed up notes & ideas...--nothing like some good old 19th century racism!"

Will offer up some of my more thoughtful reactions tomorrow...


Sorry for the short post, but not much has happened today, dissertation-wise. I tried to get some grading done; I had to choose between reading for the dissertation or catching up on grading. Even though it's Spring Break and I had planned to work on my dissertation, I also have a load of essays to grade. I want to to finish them before school is back in session. My deadline for the revised chapter is at the end of the month, so I went with grading. I'd rather be thinking about my dissertation than grading, seriously.

I managed to carve out some time to read one last chapter from Sidney Bremer's Urban Intersections. For the longest, my advisor has been asking me what key text I am responding to in my dissertation. For the longest, I had no clear answer. But now that I have read Bremer's PMLA essay titled "Home to Harlem" and parts of her book, I think I have found the author I'll be responding to. Her articulation of Harlem as a home is the basis for my articulation of urban space as a potential home, but I am complicating it too. (Or rather, I was trying to articulate what home meant in these texts, and Bremer took the words out of my mouth. Proper MLA citation, folks!) When you bring Puerto Rican migrants into the mix, it complicates some of the statements she's making about Harlem as a home for Harlem Renaissance writers. Of course, she is writing about authors from another time period; her focus is late nineteenth and early twentieth century. My authors span from early twentieth century to late twentieth century. So I'm trying to keep that in mind, that her arguments may or may not apply considering the context.

Regardless of the complications, it feels good to have a firm base to stand on. I feel like I can incorporate a discussion of Bremer's arguments into the chapter, bring in Hughes, then end the chapter talking about Harlem in Perdomo's work. Tomorrow I am taking Miss E over to the babysitter (bless that woman's heart, because she is a lifesaver for taking care of her on short notice!) and I plan on camping out at the local Panera by her house for a few hours. There will be writing going on tomorrow afternoon. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Good Days and Bad Days

I have been working on Chapter 1 for a while now. If you're keeping count at home, I've been working on chapter 1 since January 2010. But applying for teaching jobs, interviewing, having a baby at the end of the spring semester, moving halfway across the country weeks after that, changing jobs, and the like will affect your productivity. I managed to hand in a draft last November. It was 23 pages long; yes, you read that right: the draft of chapter 1 was 23 PAGES LONG.

I was worn out from thinking about Willie Perdomo and Langston Hughes for over a year. Heck, I've been mulling around ideas about home and urban space for over three years now. Thinking about space and home seems like second-nature to me (but that probably had little to do with dissertation--more on that another day). So when my advisor asked me to revise chapter 1 over the winter, I tried but nothing came out. I really had nothing more to say. Hence, the 23 pages.

I knew the chapter couldn't stay like that. But even though I loved reading Perdomo and Hughes, I really couldn't face that chapter another day. So I started researching chap 2. When I told my advisor, she initially agreed. I dove into re-reading Piri Thomas's Down These Mean Streets, looking for ways into the text to talk about home. However, my advisor recently asked me recently to revise chap 1 once and for all so that I have a solid chapter before I move on. I agreed.

She is right, even if I pouted for a little bit. I was on a roll, thinking about comparisons between Piri Thomas and Ann Petry. I had already started reading criticism on Thomas. I had a few pages' worth of notes. But I knew she was right: it has to be done. So I took it upon myself to finish this chapter by the end of this month...even though I'd be taking care of my daughter all by myself while Radioguy (my boyfriend) traveled to Arizona for Spring Training.

Yes, this sounds like crazy talk. Finish revising a chapter while you take care of an 8-month old baby and work, with no family or friends to shoulder the load? Yup. But postponing the trip was not an option. This is his job, and he loves it. I love my job too, and I respect and admire that he is as passionate about sports as I am about teaching and writing. And I've known since day 1 that there would be days like this where I'd be by myself. I'd like to think I've learned to manage them pretty well. Sometimes I even looked forward to them (hey, gotta look at the bright side of things, right?): I can make a light dinner for one if I want. I can watch tv in bed until I fall asleep (a single behavior that comes out when he's out of town). I can focus on my reading and writing when Miss E is napping. I get a little ME time. I thought I could handle revising; after all, I'd have a little more time on my hands.

But then I have days like today, where things go haywire and I fall off my hinges and don't know what to do. Then I sit down and mumble about how I should have finished that chapter in Binghamton, how I should've been done with grading, how I can't believe I am not yet finished with my PhD.

So I was glad to talk with my tweeps this am and get some positive reinforcement. I'm not the only one who wonders when she'll be done or the only one who wonders if she is just thinking crazy thoughts. They reminded me that having a community matters, even if it is a virtual community. And Radioguy reminded me yesterday that last year is over and done with. No use crying over the time I spent on my "shitty first draft." Just gotta move on and get it done.

Sometimes I have bad days. But then they turn into good days.

Goal for this month: extend chapter to 40 pages, minimum. Incorporate discussion of Sidney Bremer's text into chapter on Hughes and Perdomo.

Ray and Harden let me down!

So I've started pulling things together for my chapter on Thackeray and India.  While researching Ireland in Thackeray's six volumes of letters and private papers (by Gordon N. Ray and the subset by Edgar Harden) I found healthy indexes which included "Ireland," "Catholic" and "England."  However today I found, to my chagrin, there's no, "India," "Indian," "empire," "Calcutta" etc.

Thankfully, me and Willy T are close enough that I knew a few key names and publications to search under.  Furthermore, I found out some fascinating new Thackeray/family info! 

His father, Richmond Thackeray, started a long affair with a native Indian woman soon after he started with the East India Company in Calcutta.  His mother, Anne Becher, has an especially tragic backstory: her snobby upper middle-class grandmother told her she could never see her soldier boyfriend again; after virtually locking her in room, grandma told poor Anne that her “boyfriend” died and then sent all of his correspondence back to him, writing him that Anne no longer cared for him.  

Anne was then carted off to India (a practice he challenges in Vanity Fair) to find a suitable husband; she soon after married the wealthy, older Richmond, created a home in Calcutta and had William the next year.  The soap opera part? Richmond brings a buddy home from work one evening for dinner and..... it’s Anne’s ex-boyfriend, Carmichael-Smyth!  The couple ultimately tells Richmond what happened and he never looks at his wife the same way again.  Richmond dies a few years later, Willy T is sent to school in England (which was the norm for Anglo-Indian kids), and mom marries her "true love."

I’ve known this sordid tale for awhile, and that Richmond had a bastard daughter, but I now have new insight into how Thackeray felt about it.  As per his letters, though he squandered huge amounts of his inheritance gambling during college, he resented the small monthly payment due to his Indian half-sister (and requested by her family after her early death).  In a diary entry in his early 20s, Thackeray berates himself for dining on turtle soup “while Mrs. Blenchyden starves” (referring to his now married half-sister).  He later writes it’s “one of the sorest points of his life” that he didn’t treat her better upon learning of her death in the paper. Years later, Mrs. B’s “very black” daughter shows up in ENGLAND, he never names her but identifies her as “his niece” and is grateful when she leaves, even remarking how his mom was horrified when the girl called her “dear grandmamma.” 

I think its key that he never refers to his late half-sister as “sister” or even “Sarah,” always Mrs. Blenchyden, as if to keep her at distance.  When confronted with her daughter, he refers to her as “his black niece,” but never by name, as if hesitantly recognizing the blood relationship, but also pointing out the difference in skin tone.  Food for thought for my Chapter on India, especially as much of this family drama is reflected in Vanity Fair….

Just for fun, I’ve attached a picture of my alarm clock!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby vs dog...

First of all, God bless Liana for writing a chapter with a baby.  Today I finished and submitted my beautiful, polished and annotated Chapter One (60+ pages!) and was continually distracted by Blue... Craig left yesterday and the dog spent the better part of his afternoon putting his nose beneath my left forearm and flipping my hand up and away from the computer.  He's barked at every living thing that's passed by the window and a mile walk did nothing to appease his need for attention...

So yes, it sadly took me 2 months to turn in my chapter, but I've also read through, annotated and typed up four novels, plus located, read and annotated the bulk of my criticism.  I'm looking at this project, the five chapters, the same way a mechanic's apprentice would look at building five cars.  Building the first one SUCKS, but then you have the tools and the know-how, cars 2-5 should be relatively simple.  Time will tell...

Another hiccup in my forward progress was a 2 week visit from Craig.  We had a brilliant time, hosted dinner for our surrogate family  (the Roses), watched movies with grandma, ate at a delicious Greek restaurant (who new St. Louis was the epicenter of Greek cuisine..) and the Roses even lent us their lake house in the Ozarks for a few days.  I've attached some pictures.  In addition to hiking every day, we toured Bridal Cave.  It was rainy and miserable and we were the only one's there, so we had a private tour with a Jesse Eisenberg look-a-like, complete with white-boy afro.  We found out he's an avid climber and pretty much works there as the owner lets him privately explore the multiple-storied caverns.

But I've been at this computer screen for 10 hours... Blue's just dropped his saliva drenched Kong in my lap... I'm pouring a drink ... Huzzahh!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How Technology Changed the Way I Dissertate

Hi, my name is Liana and I am a professional procrastinator. If there were certificates in procrastination, I'd be the one teaching the courses to get certified. However, because I know I can procrastinate, I am strangely loyal to schedules and to gadgets that make my life easier. (An extra half hour of reality tv? Count me in!) Scheduling time is a big thing for me, considering I am an adjunct, a full-time mom, and a full-time dissertator. It ensures that I get at least something done regarding my dissertation. But scheduling is not the only thing that has kept my intellectual gears moving. There are several gadgets that help me get my work done on a regular basis. Some of these I have discovered on my own; others I have picked up from my peers. They make my job a little easier, so I thought I'd share them with you:
  • e-reader: I love books, and I don't just mean in the abstract. I love purchasing books and displaying them on my bookcase. I'm big on marginalia. For a while I was anti-e-reader; I believed they would bring the demise of the publishing industry. (Yes, I can be a tad dramatic at times.) However, I wondered sometimes if an e-reader would help with my dissertation reading and with the cost of books. I came across this Prof Hacker post by Amy Cavender, and I was sold! I still buy books (just recently purchased Sidney Bremer's Urban Intersections), and I have bought a few e-books, but I primarily use my Kindle to read PDFs. It has cut down on the amount of copies I need to carry and store. I am a big fan of highlighting and writing on the margins of my texts, but not having a pile of copies in a corner of my small apartment is a relief. The only problem is that the Kindle isn't the best when it comes to highlighting and taking notes.
  • Google Docs: I used Google Docs on and off for months last year, but when my laptop crashed a few weeks after I gave birth I began to use it on a regular basis. I didn't get my laptop fixed until two months after The Incident, and I couldn't reinstall Microsoft Office until last month. Needless to say, I depended on Google Docs for my word processing needs. I use Google Docs for my weekly dissertation chapter notes. I like the fact that it saves automatically, unlike Word. However, the formatting can get a little weird when you download something as a Word document, or when you upload a Word document. I still use Word when I sit down for the first official draft.
  • Foxit Reader: I recently discovered this application, but it has come in handy! It allows you to comment on PDFs, highlight passages, and copy text. I'm using it right now to revise my first chapter; my laptop refuses to install my printer, so I can't print out a copy of my chapter and mark it like I am used to. Now, I can make comments right on the PDF. I plan on later printing out the comments and have them by my side as I type up my revisions.
  • Dropbox: I never thought I'd use Dropbox as much as I do. I have an external hard drive (got it after my laptop crashed last summer) so I didn't think I'd need to put my documents in a cloud. Wrong. WRONG. I use Dropbox for documents I'll be using on campus and at home. I also use it to store pictures of the whiteboard after my classes are over. But more importantly, I use it to store PDFs and other dissertation documents. Just a few weeks ago a librarian friend found a few dissertations I needed to read via Proquest. She uploaded them to our shared Dropbox folder, and I could access them instantly! I do a lot of dissertation work at school after I'm done with class. I love that I can just upload the documents to Dropbox and it will appear on my laptop at home instantly. It also has a mobile app, which is super convenient when you use your phone as much as I do.
  • Evernote: I just recently got into Evernote, so I must admit I haven't explored all of its potential. But Evernote is quite nifty when it comes to taking notes and jotting down ideas. I don't use it on my desktop as much as I do on my iPhone. I use it to take pictures of books or quotations I want to remember. It also helps for jotting down ideas on the go when I'm away from my laptop. (When you're writing a dissertation, it's like your brain is always ON.) However, I don't use it as much for note-taking (see Google Docs above).
  • Smartphone: How could I NOT include my smartphone? I have an iPhone, but I'm sure this could work for any smartphone. I used my cellphone a lot before I gave birth. But after giving birth, I became attached to it. It was my connection to the outside world for the first few months of my daughter's life. It also allowed me to stay productive when I wasn't as mobile. Now I check books on Amazon, upload documents onto Dropbox, post a thought on Evernote, read my notes on Google Docs, or find out if any of the local libraries has a book via Worldcat. It is my computer away from my computer.
  • Social media: Ok, it's not necessarily a gadget. But being far away from my campus and from my dissertating peers, blogging and tweeting has helped me get in touch with other academics, intellectuals, PhD candidates who are interested in my work--and whose work is interesting as well. It's nice to know there are people out there who find the work I do interesting, and who want to talk/read about it. I also post a daily update on my dissertation work on Twitter (hashtag: #dissertation, although I am not the only one posting there), so social media keeps me honest...if anything.
One of my new year's resolutions was to make my dissertation a priority. I used to complain and get upset when days would go by last semester and I couldn't get any work done. Part of the problem was, with all the changes in my life I was trying to research and write the way I've always done. When I couldn't disappear for a whole day to work at the library, or when I didn't have hours at a time to write, I didn't know what to do with myself. These gadgets (and a daily routine of at least an hour for dissertation stuff) have helped me get more work done even when I can't sit at my desk--or when I don't have more than an hour to spare.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

a page every 3 hours??

So even though it's Craig's first day here, I spent a solid amount of time in front of my laptop.  Earlier today her and Ga ran errands, one being a trip to the Verizon store where he picked me up a Droid ('the incredible'?).  I understand it's a very cool, high tech phone, but I personally feel to out-dated to use it!

Anyways, I spent my work time today editing, revising, reading through my notebook of quotes, entering in relevant quotes, cutting passages (I have a ten page document entitled "Cut Parts), writing new passages...
and at the end of the day, I've added a whopping two pages! WTF?  How miserable!  At least the chapter seems cleaner and more cohesive. In short, my confidence in the project is up, but my page productivity is down for the day...

At least my love is here to offer supportive hugs and tease me when I bang my head against the tabletop...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

31... 2 hrs and 10 minutes

So I'm on page 31! I should be stoked, but am concerned that after setting up my theoretical frame and explaining why other critics are reading The Irish Sketchbook incorrectly, it's been ten pages of my analyzing controversial passages and images from The Sketchbook and his letters.  You reach a point where you realize "Damn, I need to cite someone recent and relevant to back up me up here," which is especially difficult if not one is reading it quite the same way...

On a lighter note, Craig lands in 2 hours! Together for 12 days, can't wait! I look forward to when this project is done and I can get back to having him around all the time...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lucky 21?

I'm on page 21.  Not as quickly as I'd hoped to move, but I can round out CH 1 by Saturday.  This will allow me three weeks to get knee-deep in my chapter on India and I'll be fully prepared to read sections from both for my conference at the end of the month.

I can't wait for Craig to arrive Thursday... suddenly he actually feels a thousand miles away.  But I see him 2x this month and am trying to remain positive.

My grandmother and I just started watching pieces of the Anne of Green Gables series in the evenings... haven't seen it since I was an adolescent so it's a wonderful, dream-like deja vu experience to see them again.  I remember really identifying with "Anne with an 'e'"  (in both the books and the film), all dreamy-eyed and awkward with her nose in a book... good times...