Monday, February 1, 2010

"I feel like cryin'..." - Chris Isaak

This is our inauspicious entry into the world of public self-flagellation. Over the next two years Sara and I will document the process of writing our respective dissertations. Actually, Sara just corrected me; it will be one year for her, and likely a year and a half for me. Our posts won't always be directly about our work, but all the stuff we do to get us through the day and help us cope with the process of writing sizeable tomes that will accumulate dust on respectable academic library shelves.

When one embarks on this process there is the pressure to develop a sexy, groundbreaking topic that makes you a double- or triple-threat in your chosen field. With the exception of medical post-docs with pecs of steel (the sexual intellectual) who work to cure babies with cancer, it's difficult to really chisel one's self a good dissertation topic. So many students start their doctoral work not having a clear idea about what topic they'd like to pursue. Some of us flounder with no clear direction, and others find a niche and cling to it tenaciously with the dire hope that it will be fruitful.

In the meantime, between chapters and the intermittent fits of anxiety and pique Ph.D. students engage themselves in activities with clear and measurable outcomes– the exact opposite of the stuff our advisers throw at us. The late night baking, knitting (Sara's pastime, not mine), running (mine), drinking (Sara, booze; Anthony, coffee), pills (a mutual interest, to be documented later) and other fantastical things keep us sane.

Now, we're going to pause for a breakkie of cranberry scones with Devonshire cream, farmhouse berry jam, and fancy tea. All this to let our creative juices flow, ferment, and curdle.


[caption id="attachment_24" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="And after we blogged, we supped on this most sumptuous breakfast."][/caption]

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