Friday, August 18, 2006
The Third Hoop
Today I wrote my final candidacy exam. It ended up being all about crowds, whereas my original proposal was about mobs, and my eventual dissertation will be about working-class demonstrations -- in literature, for all of the above.
I'm feeling pretty good about it. It's amazing how stupid jumping the exam hoops actually is, though -- no one writes three essays in seven hours in academia, unless they're totally fucking insane, and maybe hopped up on coke (although that's really unlikely, because academics probably can't afford coke. Generally, we can barely afford car payments).
In about 2 or 3 weeks, after I've revised my dissertation proposal, I'll have an oral exam on my list and my proposal, and then I can put the little letters "PhD ABD" beside my name. ABD means all but dissertation -- so, in other words, the fun of writing begins once those words are attached.
Mike made me a celebratory dinner since we're too broke to go out, and in so many ways staying at home after a seven hour exam (that I wrote on five hours of sleep) is actually very preferable to dinner out, where you have to get all dressed up and not be loud and assy all night. Being stupid at home is so much more fun!
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Q: How do you know my next exam is coming up?
With my first exam, it was a flu (and a postponed exam). Exam #2 was paired with a staph infection from a cat bite. My final exam is in two weeks, and my foot is broken.
No, really -- I rolled on my (3x sprained) ankle, ripped the tendons, and fractured the bone on Friday night. While walking. AFTER I ran my first 5km timed run in the afternoon (which rocked ass, by the way). About 5 blocks from my house. Fucked up, no?
Anyway, I'm actually not feeling too bad about it. The shittiest part is not being able to run, especially since I was so pround of myself after my 5km run. But in a way, being crippled is good for a control freak, because it takes one thing out of my hands, and thus off my mind. My crippling anxiety has been totally alleviated by my actual crippling injury. I've finished almost 3 novels since Saturday. My brain is totally devoted to pulling together all the threads of reading from the last few months, and I don't feel any guilt about not doing housework or laundry. It's like my body is loving the downtime! And my brain doesn't worry about my body as a result. And that's a good thing, because I have some deep revisions in my future.
Here's why: as I mentioned in a previous post, I recently found a dissertation that's about what my dissertation was going to be about. I've read some of it, and ordered the entire thing, and I know already that it's really close to what I was proposing to write. Three of the novels I proposed to write on in depth were already addressed by this dissertation, and I was familiar with all but one of the novels mentioned. Oh, and the writer of this dissertation had a SSHRC sometime in the late 90s/early 2000s, so all my chances would have been out the window even if my SSHRC app had made it through the uni. So my project is evolving into something new, and I'm actually happy about it. Lately I've become more interested in literature of labour and unions, and the socialist and anarchist movements that emerged at the turn of the century. I'm also hoping to read a bit of genre criticism and theory, because a lot of the books I've been reading seem to model themselves on the mystery genre, and I really don't know why. I've read some pretty interesting memoirs/autobiographies as well, so maybe that will produce something fruitful for the dissertation.
Anyway, I'm overall pretty happy with everything right now. Broken foot, new dissertation, impending final exam -- hey, what's not to like, right? No, I can't explain my good mood, but I'll take it nonetheless.