Scholarly tedium.

In the past few weeks I’ve been slowly reacquainting myself with the world of research — for RA work, and editing, and course prep purposes, but also for a New Thing that I’m starting to work on. I feel deeply out of practice in regards to research. Particularly I feel like I’ve lost my patience with the tedium of research: of surveying databases and bibliographies to get an overall sense of the field, of sifting through hundreds of search results, summaries, and abstracts, in order to find the most relevant work on the subject, of saving, and photocopying articles and chapters for literally hours at a time.

Research has generally been my favourite part of scholarly work: I find the initial stages quite soothing and the process of reading work and thinking about texts and ideas exciting. But it requires a cultivated patience — a resignation that you’re about to spend hours of life in that state of tedium. Teaching feels much faster-paced —  and after doing that for several months, I’m finding it difficult to get back into the slower, more repetitive rhythms of research. And I’ve been finding myself feeling frustrated a lot of the time.

But on the other hand, I could be writing. Nothing is more terrifying than writing.

25 May 2016

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