Pruning the rose bush

Met with my supervisors today. Got the news I wanted to hear. They think my dissertation should pass. I need to do a final edit and fix up a few bits and pieces, including the structure of one of the chapters, but overall the message was positive.

As with most writers with a writing task, I find it much easier to work on the excesses and absences of a document once it has gained its final consistency compared to the struggle to write and organise an ever expanding series of propagating possibilities. Pruning the rose bush rather than letting the backyard run wild.

So I have two weeks until it is due. When I wrote my honours thesis I submitted it 3 weeks early after editing it down from something 2.5 tmes too long. My PhD is 1.5 years past the first submission date and I am again struggling to keep the size within reason.

It feels a bit weird. Not really a relief at all, every action is still saturated in a low level anxiety. I find myself taking long, deep breaths every now and then, and almost witness, rather than experience, my racing mind before it runs off into fantastic yet irrelevant tangents. I wonder if it is possible to have a fight or flight response in thought? Maybe I am a pathological conceptualist?

Part of this is because I know it is still a shit load of work to do. After two or three days doing a general edit with my supervisors’ comments, I will make the final changes to the content and structure that I have thought of while ‘not’ working on it over the last week or so. I have already created most of the necessary attendent pages required to supplement the main text (title page, acknowledgements, dedication, etc), but I still need to create a list of illustrations, collate the archival references properly, and write a glossary of terms from enthusiast discourse.

I also feel confident. Not in the sense of my confidence, which is never in short supply, but in the quality of my argument and the worthines of my research-based evidence. I don’t really mind what changes I make in terms of the actual writing, I am ony concerned with maintaining or increasing the integrity of the argument.

If higher education is really about learning for one’s self how to learn, then I think I have succeeded. Of course, I am a theory head and in my down time (before bed, the ‘dead’ time of waiting for something, etc) I have been reading Deleuze’s book on Neitzche again after trying to read it two years or so ago. Two years ago it didn’t really make sense. I could follow the mechanics of the argument and therefore deduce the points being made, but I didn’t actually understand why they were being made. Now, after having read most of Deleuze’s other work, sometimes a few times (in particular on Hume and Spinoza, but also D&R and TLoS), it makes almost perfect sense. It’s actually quite fun.

Anyway. Time to do it.


4 replies on “Pruning the rose bush”

  1. Our backyard has run wild, waiting for your pruning expertise over the Christmas break – plus Nan’s backyard is past the wild stage. Glad all went well with your supervisors, and this week enables you to get the job completely finished. Speaking with Grnt Stone last night – he was going to use our Basketball tickets – he lectures in cultural studies at Murdoch, and is the librarian at the Uni – he remembers your supervisor – Z – she is ex Murdoch Uni. Spoke very highly of her. I am sure you are looking forward to Cee’s visit in a week’s time. Keep at it, the end is nearly in sight.

  2. hey glen, just wanted to pass on a pre-congratulatory note for being on the finishing track. may the low-level anxiety dissipate over the next two weeks so you can kick out the jams when you submit the beast. nice one. kc

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