Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Midnight Songs of Forgetting

...and then just like that, all this draft lacks is a conclusion. At a walloping 27+36+31+38 (132?!!!!!?? really?!!!?!?!) pages long, it could do with A LOT of editing, but I'm choosing to ignore that fact tonight.


Orlando, you and I might be past...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Allow Me to Introduce... (pt.2)

Giving Orlando an introduction would be easier if s/he weren't so socially awkward.

"It can't be that difficult," you might be saying. Well, think again. The last time we went to a party together, it went down something like this...*

This is my friend Orla--

Hi, I'm very interested in heteroglossia and the dialogization of travel narratives through their translation into dramatic form.

Ah, sure. Well, I think I need some more punch. Nice to meet you.


Hi, I'd like to introduce you to Or--

Which definition of tragicomedy do you find most instructive? Sidney's or Fletcher's?

I think I hear someone calling me. Be right back.


Hey, this is Orlando.

So. I heard you talking about your trip last summer. Did you realize that by telling that story you're contributing to a nationalist discourse that renders foreigners nothing more than metaphors for your domestic anxieties?

How rude. This is a
friend of yours?

Well...it's complicated.

Good luck with


::sigh:: Orlando, I can't take you anywhere.

What? What did I do?

Never mind.

*Obviously this is hypothetical, because graduate students don't have time to go to parties.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Growing Things

Today I...

Finished a draft of chapter three! It's kind of a beast and will require substantial editing, but it feels amazing to send it in for review and let it rest for a day or so.

Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes. Working in a different location really helps me write. Today that meant sitting in an empty room with lots of windows to let in the sunshine, mellow music on my Pandora station (Zoe Keating, David Nevue, Eidolon, and Brian Crain, among others), and six baby cacti sitting on the edge of the desk.

I started them from seed, and I've had them for over two years now. The tallest one is about 8-9 inches tall, and none of them are very attractive. Every winter I'm sure they're going to die, and every summer I forget to water them for at least a two-week period. But they're still alive and still growing. Somehow, that's encouraging.

Add a little peach tea and some peppermints, and there's no telling what I can accomplish!


My strategy might not work at all next time, but when it does work, I'll take it. And that's enough for now. When I say, "It's the little things," I really do mean it.

(Now on to the introduction.)

Thesis Defense: T-27 days and counting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reading (Cat)Lists

I just realized that I have read only FIVE books this year that were unrelated to my thesis.

That is incredibly depressing.

Lucky cat.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alternate Career Possibilities

You've hit a special place in your thesis-writing career when researching replacement parts for your toilet is suddenly much more interesting than crafting an argument about seventeenth-century theater.

Flapper valve, anyone?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Orlando and I Reconcile Over Procrastination

Otherwise known as...

A Quasi Logic-Based Attempt to Regain Nominal Appreciation for Orlando, the Thesis That Would Neither Vanish Nor Transmogrify into Something Slightly More Fantastic Than a Million Dollars, Through Misguided Appropriation of Flawed Logic, Outmoded Analogies, Barely Applicable Similes, and Wholly Metaphysical Conceits.

But that wouldn't fit in the title box.


Attempt #1

Cookie recipes call for 12 minutes of baking time.
After 8 minutes, cookies are still soft in the middle.
I don't like crunchy cookies.
I prefer cookies that are still soft in the middle.
Therefore, I prefer cookies that are two-thirds done.
I've written two-thirds of Orlando's first draft.
Orlando is not completed.
Orlando is two-thirds completed.
A synonym for completed is "done."
Orlando is two-thirds done.
THEREFORE, I prefer Orlando.

Attempt #2

When I play frisbee, I have a higher probability of catching frisbees that are out of reach.
Therefore, it is better for my team if the frisbee is out of reach.
When the frisbee is flying by quickly, it is more likely to be out of reach.
Therefore, it is better for my team if the frisbee is flying by quickly.
It is one month and five days before my defense.
The time until my defense is flying by quickly.
The time until my defense ∝ the probability of finishing my thesis.
Therefore, the probability of finishing my thesis is flying by quickly.
At my current rate of production, I cannot finish my thesis on time.
Therefore, finishing my thesis is out of reach.
"Finishing my thesis" = "catching the frisbee"
THEREFORE, conditions are optimal for me to finish my thesis.

Attempt #3

Chapters provide structure to a thesis.
Rhythm/meter provides structure to music.
Chapter:Thesis :: Meter:Music.
Chapters designate a thesis's time signature.
Orlando has three chapters.
Therefore Orlando's time signature is 3/4.
3/4 is the time signature of the waltz.
I love to waltz.
THEREFORE, I love Orlando.

Attempt #3.14

Orlando has nothing to do with math.
I have nothing to do with math.
THEREFORE, Orlando =



So maybe this wasn't the best idea.

Happy Pi Day, y'all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chapter 2

Orlando's still growing! Chapter 2 (currently 30 pages) is now en route to its first checkup. I have to stop taking these 3-day recuperation breaks after each chapter though. Rapidly running out of time, unfortunately.

Oh, for April 20!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Plautus, Germs, and Orlando's Revenge

Boy, I tell you what. I leave Orlando alone for one day and watch the cycle of revenge fly faster than a frisbee in high winds. I think he might have enlisted the aid of the entire germ community within a 50-mile radius. But enough mangled metaphors and hyperbole.

After approximately a week of on-again, off-again illness, I'm gaining a new appreciation for the simple process of breathing. And sleeping.

Slightly behind schedule, I'm now working through a sludge of material for chapter two, with about 26 pages previously written, hoping that some small percentage of that is salvageable. Deadline: the early parts of spring break (!!).

The current topic of study is multiple plots in Renaissance drama, and I can't help but wonder if that's where Orlando's been getting his ideas... surely there's something about germ warfare in Plautus.

Well, Orlando, as long as we're in the business of appropriating Plautus, here's one for you:

Now mark my words, if you act like this toward me after today, you shall hie yourself home to your library as an incomplete thesis. Why, whenever I want to go out, you catch hold of me, call me back, cross-question me as to where I'm going, what I'm doing, what business I have in hand, what I'm after, what I've got, what I did when I was out. I've been paired with a custom-house officer, judging from the way everything--all I've done and am doing--must be declared. I've pampered you too much; now then, I'll state my future policy. Inasmuch as I keep you well provided with books, analysis, research, punctuation, epigraphs, bibliographies, and you lack for nothing, you will look out for trouble if you're wise, and cease spying and wishing illnesses on your writer.
-freely adapted from Menaechmi

So there.