After two hours of trying to write about a film on my laptop while watching said film on the same laptop, I gave up and went to Target and bought a DVD player. It was cheap and I was losing my mind going between screens on the 13″ MacBook trying to write about scenes. The purchase of the DVD player got me thinking about the various incidental dissertation and candidacy exam related expenses I never considered I would encounter, and yet, oh I have.
1. Comfy writing chair – said chair could easily have run into the hundreds as my late 19th century straight back chair was no longer cutting it when it came to long hours at my desk. Between my ass falling asleep and a sense of never being comfortable I took the plunge and started looking around at good chairs last spring. As I figure that a good desk chair is an item that will only be purchased once – maybe twice – I was not afraid of dropping some serious cash on a good one. The lovely man-friend, however, came to the rescue as he had several fancy, comfortable desk chairs in his home office from the days when he and his partners started up their law firm. One of those chairs managed to make it from his home office into mine. Had he not been so generous, I knew that I was going to be looking into a significant yet completely justifiable expense.
2. Television – until this winter I had not lived with a TV in more than 12 years. I was completely fine without a TV and in fact I’ve not really adjusted to the fact that I have one. Each time it is on I feel like I must be at someone else house – my grandmother’s as she is the only other person I know who does not have cable. The TV came into my life because of a number of dissertation related programs are on network news programs that aren’t available online. Again taking the attitude that its not like I am going to purchase another TV in the next 5-10 years, I spent a good bit of money for a quality television. Save for the dissertation, however, I don’t think I would have been all that motivated to buy one. And it helped that the TV can also be hooked up to the laptop.
4. Book flags, colored small post-it notes, and large post-it notes – all in the name of saving books and marking places to come back to. I must be funding a good portion of the 3M corporation by now.
3. DVD player – yes, and now the dissertation’s latest expense, the DVD player.
I wonder if I can write all of these off on my taxes next year.
I don’t know what I expected from Day 1 of Chapter 1. I think I expected to get a bit more done in terms of content, but other things took up a great deal of time.
To save myself some headaches down the line I spent the first part of the morning setting up the format for the diss document. Yeah, those templates I mentioned in an earlier post work well in some regards and not so well in others. It is probably a Mac/MS Word 2008 thing, but it took a bit of time and some cursing to get everything set up.
I am not one of those people who can just dive into a project at any point on the outline and go. I need a start, I need a hook, I need some sort of narrative thru-line or touchstone that I will come back to throughout the project to get things going. This morning I wrote one (well, really, I’ve been contemplating this part for several days so its not like it all just came to me in an instant), took a walk to the library to pick up some books, walked home, sat down and wrote a second beginning to the project.
In my mind I’ve been debating the pros and cons of these narratological devices for days now, and I had hoped that upon writing each one out that one of them would just feel right or, rather, more right than the other and I would know how to proceed. No dice. Perhaps sleeping on it tonight will help. Or perhaps my loving advisor will email me back as I definitely need to talk with him about the long-term ramifications of Option #1 or #2.
I think it is time for me to go and curl up with a book and try to get to sleep soundly before the neighbor’s party starts – otherwise there is going to be one cranky Amelia tomorrow if I am kept up until 2am by noise. Also the electrician is coming back tomorrow to fix the power problem – yes, its been more than three weeks and I still don’t have power in half of my apartment. I don’t think I am going to be please with the power flickering on and off all day tomorrow, but the end result will be nice.
– day. Yup, it is Dissertation, chapter one, day.
For those of you already hard at work on your chapters, I figured I would share with you one of the resources that OSU finally got around to putting together and online. I knew that they were in the process of organizing templates for the documents this time last year but they are now up and running – Templates for Dissertations, Thesis, and D.M.A. Documents.
The templates are in Word 2007 for PC, and while they are of course compatible with the Word 2008 for Mac, it would be nice to have the proper Mac based instructions. So perhaps if enough of us Mac users and lovers email the grad school they will be so kind as to accommodate the rest of us.
everything in my life can’t be about work. Much of my life is consumed by work, but the degree to which I’ve been wrapped up in it lately has been taking its toll. I am not talking about neglected friends, missed runs or workouts, or forgetting to take out the recycling (please, by now those are a given), but the honest to goodness physical toll the looming start date for Chapter 1 has been causing.
In the past 5 nights or so I’ve slept no more than 4 hours a night. And of those 4 hours most nights only 2 or 3 hours were solid and continuous. Normally when I have a rough night I will let the workout or run slide in favor of more sleep, and well, frankly that was a part of what I had been doing for the last month or so. But now that I am getting my life back on schedule and dragging my very tired body to the gym at 5:30am, the short non-continuous periods of sleep aren’t sustaining me.
Honestly I figured that after a day or so of being exhausted my body would just behave and sleep through the night, but dreams of sugar plum faeries the dissertation issues dance through my head. Come Saturday it is all Chapter 1 all the time, but each night I have been trying to settle on some structural elements for the chapter, really for the whole of the project. I can’t sleep as my mind turns over options and possibilities, taking each one and considering the long term implications of those decisions – for what jobs would this choice of thru-line position me? if I want to think about these as individually publishable chapters what elements will appeal to certain journals and turn off others? etc.
While I in no way support or endorse this practice, tonight, Tylenol PM will be my friend. And if that does not work, I am screwed.
leep. Oh Sleep, hello??? Where are you?? I miss you.
It has been too long since we’ve spent a nice long night together. Look, I know that I am a strong and independent woman and need to depend upon no one to take care of me, but Sleep, baby, what did I do?
I am not accusing you of running around on me with some one else. I know it is not like that, but whatever is wrong between us, we need to work it out because four hours of you a night is just not enough. Yes, I know, sometimes I am hard on you and I know that sometimes I am not there when you are available and ready for me, but our relationship is too precious to me to just walk out on you. So please, please come home to me.
ears ago… well, not that many years ago… I remember a particular day that was completely awesome. Several things came together one summer morning during my MA, and I recall sitting down and writing about the day. I wrote about it because it was one of those days that needed to be captured so that in the many blah or shitty days that followed – have and continue to follow – I wanted to make sure that I had something distinct that I could point to and say, “ah yes, there are good days. Not all days which are miserable will repeat ad infinitum, for there really are some pretty spectacular ones that get sprinkled in along the way.”
Yesterday was one of the good ones.
I’ve been feeling fairly out of sorts for about the past month. Many things have contributed to my somewhat depressed state, but winter in Ohio is generally the biggest factor. On Monday, however, I began to see that I was starting to pulling myself out of my winter depression. A good barometer of how I am fairing in general happens to be my gym attendance – too much or too little in either direction indicate that something is off. As I had not dragged myself out of bed and to the gym at 5:30am in more than a month, it seemed pretty momentous that I actually made it there on Tuesday morning, and again this morning. But this is about yesterday.
Having dragged myself out of bed so early, I figured I would also take an early morning trip to the office to do a few things there. In my mailbox was an envelope, and in the envelope was a journal issue. An issue which featured my work as the lead article. I can’t tell you what it is like to see your own words in some other font, some other formatting, on glossy paper, and with your title in HUGE letters for the first time. It’s pretty darn spectacular. I had known that I would be in the issue, but I did not know that I was to be the lead article. That was a pretty awesome surprise. A day and a half later and I am still floating a bit.
Its not a giant article and it is not in a big journal, but it is HUGE start and HUGE moment in the life of an academic.
So maybe it was a bad idea to set a date for the start of chapter 1. Now that the date is set, and I am staring it down, I am getting nervous. I don’t know precisely what I am feeling nervous about, but there are nerves nonetheless.
Its not like I have never written before. Heck I did just finish and submit a chapter length article, so I know that I can do this, but there is still so much that I don’t know about dissertation writing. There is still so much that I don’t know about this particular dissertation. I fear that come Saturday morning I am just going to freeze up, and that would suck.
Maybe the start of chapter one means getting back to some of my other routines that the winter weather has continues to trounce….
I’ve never been married, and I am not looking to be married, so I’ve never experienced the trials and tribulations of having to “set the date.” Perhaps there was some of this with determining a date for my candidacy exams, but setting the start date for chapter one of the dissertation is a big deal.
Logistically setting the start date is not a huge deal. Yes, there are things that I want to finish off before I start on chapter one, but I don’t know that I will completely freak out and die if there is some carry over. Mentally, though, setting the date is huge.
The date is now there, circled, on my calendar. It is the day that the tenor and pace of my life will change. I am trying not to put too much weight on it, but having a start date is a weighty thing. I think that I need to do one other thing. I think I need to pick an end date as well. If I don’t I guess chapter one could go on and on and on.
I managed to cut the dissertation prospectus from 22+ pages down to a 5 page proposal — not easy. Friends, however, were most helpful in the endeavor. Now, however, I must get it down to a 350 word abstract. I don’t even know what to do anymore. Such cutting has become so hard.
he Winter Olympics are here!!!!! Honestly, the Winter Olympics are the only reason I recently acquired a TV because I LOVE the Olympics. Yes, I know I need to grade, but there are soooo many events to watch right now. Do you think my committee will be able to deal with me taking off the next two weeks to watch the games??? Sure, writing can wait….. sure, right, yeah….