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
and I can’t tell if I’m more excited to read Elizabethan or Restoration plays.
I also discovered that there’s a 2014 crime-baron style Cymbeline and I can’t tell if it’s maybe a brilliant interpretation of the inherent violence of romance or a complete failure to understand the genre? (I’m very intrigued.)
17 August 2015
until the class I’m teaching starts. And just about five until our conference. And the play we’re staging as part of the conference (for which I’m dramaturging and writing production notes) has a show in about two weeks.
But I am not anxious. Not even a bit.
I’ve been really enjoying being part of play rehearsals, seeing a production come together, and kind of wish I could dramaturge all the time (though maybe I wouldn’t have the kind of energy to keep up with that of activity long-term? also when would I get to write things?). But I’m also starting to look forward to the end of July when things will quiet down a little.
And then there will be time for naps again.
18 May 2015
where I didn’t get through any of the work I planned. I slept interruptedly, so woke up tired and tired does not lead to productive work. Did manage to get through The Lost Lady, however, as well as some transcription work before my eyeballs gave up on focussing on my laptop screen.
Days like this leave me feeling very disgruntled.
13 April 2015
I edited a paper, did some conference prep work, read a play, read articles, studied three languages, and organised my inbox (somewhat). Basically, all the academical things.
I’m exhausted and it’s only Monday.
1 December 2014
that nothing could be more emotionally topsy-turvy than writing a dissertation. But it turns out job applications are a whole different breed of emotional turbulence.
Revise that statement of teaching philosophy one more time!
Goodness I’m anxious these days.
27 October 2014
reviewing and editing documents for various academic activities, and tying up loose ends of ongoing work (job applications, grant applications, conferences, etc.). Days like today can occasionally be welcome breaks from work on longer, more open-ended projects (articles and other written work), because they’re things that can be easily handled in an afternoon or so, and in predictable blocks of time (a half hour or an hour). So everything feels very manageable, and it doesn’t really matter if one’s brain is working quickly or slowly. There’s none of the frustration of not being able to articulate an idea clearly.
But I’m also now starting to miss working on something I can dig my hands into a play around with; but then it also occurred to me today that I should actually get down to some serious article publishin’ and book revisin’.
So I guess I’m ready to get back to work.
20 October 2014
is a strange continuation/discontinuation of life-in grad school. I think I anticipated some kind of a definitive “break” between life inside grad school and life outside of it — but of course this idea is nonsense. Writing a dissertation is only one part of life in grad school. The other parts — researching, working on publications, conferencing, etc — continue on well past the defense date.
So I’m still copyediting (though that work is mostly done now), helping prep a conference, and working on publications. The two major changes in my life thus far, then, are 1) I’m now learning how to apply for jobs, and 2) I no longer have the sense of always working towards an impending deadline.
The former is a little bit terrifying, but I expect it’s that way for everyone. The latter is a bit of an illusion, since obviously job and grant applications and copyediting all have deadlines, and I could have extended dissertation deadlines if I had really wanted (to pay more tuition…). But the lack of a writing deadline is also proving increasingly attractive, as now I can read and write at slightly more forgiving pace, and there’s the potential to do some solid work now.
I did think I would immediately slip into some sort of rigorous work schedule right away though, and it feels like that hasn’t quite happened; however, it also feels as if defending happened ages ago, and it really hasn’t been that long. And I’m now in the position to set a research/writing schedule for the term, which is quite nice indeed.
13 October 2013
Some time last December I decided to take a break from my “write about every book I’m reading” plan to just write about the stuff I was reading for my dissertation. Which was just a way of saying to myself “write your dissertation already!”
But now I’ve done that, and can resume writing other things again. I’ll probably try and catch up on writing about books read over the last year (there have been many), and probably also record the increasingly bewildering process of being a post-doctoral adult.
I don’t know what that’s going to look like. It’ll probably include cats.
6 October 2014