Monday, January 29, 2007

Dissertation Update 1/29

Over the last few days:

I revised all of the sections of Chapter 3 except for the conclusion, and researched all of the little picky research questions I had remaining. I even had time to work on the notes!

The last thing to do is to polish the writing and consider my transitions, and finish the conclusion (I have the problem that my chapters stop, rather than conclude) and then--cue spooky music--I'll send it on to my advisor, I'm thinking this evening. I'm really pleased with my progress on this chapter, but I'm afraid that when I give it to her, it will be not at all what she wants, not rigorous enough, poorly written, etc. The feedback I get on this chapter will guide the rest of my revisions as well. Hopefully, if it's good enough for me, it will be good enough for her.

Today, 1/29:

So my goals for today are to fix the writing and the conclusion, and send chapter 3 to my advisor.

Tomorrow, 1/30:

I'm working at the museum all day tomorrow, so I won't have time to do much writing, but I'll look over her comments on chapter 2, the next one to go, and list the sections, and mark all the 'need more here!' places in bold and list them as well.


Because two blogs aren't enough, I've joined the Dissertation Boot Camp. Check it out!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dissertation Update, 1/27

Yesterday, Saturday, Jan 27:

I wrote for about 8 hours, and added about 1500 words to my chapter, bringing it to a very-respectable-and-maybe-even-too-long 12,000 words.

I revised the sections on Dr. Flint, Reinhardt employees, foreign language newspapers, the 'defining doctors' stuff (which appears in Chapter 2, and so needs to be discussed only glancingly), and the conclusion. I also got rid of as many 'need more here!' sections as I could.

Today, January 28:

Today I'm going to the library to get rid of the rest of the 'need more here!' sections, which all require a bit of research. Sunday is a bad day for library-going in Minneapolis: the MPL branches are all closed, some St Paul library branches are open, but not till 1, and even the U's humanities library doesn't open till noon.

I'm planning to do some polishing, transition-fixing, and notes-fixing this morning until the libraries open, at which point I'm planning to fill in all the 'need more here!' sections, all 6 of them. After that--well, I guess the chapter will be done, 4 days ahead of schedule. I'll try to send it to some friends and get their opinions before it goes to my advisor.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dissertation Update, 1/26

Yesterday, Friday 1/26, I worked on Chapter 3.

On my new 10-week schedule, Chapter 3 is due to my advisor on Feb 1.

Yesterday I worked on it for about 12 hours.

I wrote about 2500 words, for a grand total of 10,100 (about 40 pp)--and this is just filling in the 'more here' notes I wrote on earlier drafts. I worked on the chapter intro and the sections on the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Evans, Dr. Cramp, the exposé, and Dr. Zins. Though none of those sections are totally done, they're in good shape.

Today I'm going to write more. I'm planning to revise the sections on Dr. Flint, Reinhardt floormen, and foreign language newspapers, and hopefully the conclusion as well.

If I finish those sections, the ones left are on Chicago, other exposés, and polishing everything and making sure the argument is coherent.

I'm feeling optimistic about this chapter, for the first time in months!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Things to get me as gifts after I finish my diss

The new Pynchon novel
A book on cheesemaking
heirloom vegetable seeds
kefir grains, koji, sourdough, natto, other cultures
a new bow for my saw (viola or cello please)
music lessons
a nice touring bike
three weeks of catsitting so I can bike around Lake Superior on above
a camp stove
that beautiful old movie theater on East Lake St. that I've always wanted to buy and turn into an art space

I say after the diss because all of these things involve time and energy that I need to put into writing. I think that's all for now. I'll link you back to this when I actually do finish (countdown: April!).

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I'm continually amazed that our superfrenetic culture gives space for reflection, consideration, vision, around the new year. I've never been particularly interested in resolutions, but the past year was filled with so many changes and transitions, many of them painful, that giving myself time to reflect and take care of myself is not amusing but necessary. So here are my resolutions:

To practice active self-care
To be with people that challenge me and treat me well

To finish my dissertation

For the first, I moved into a new apartment, full of quiet and space. I bought myself a coffeepot, that I can set to make me coffee at 6:30 every morning. I'm joining the Y, a block from my new place, so every morning I can wake up gently and go to the sauna, grounded and ready to write/program/read.

I hope you also had some quiet space this new year.