Day 14: Never Quit on a Hill

Huge grumpy raspberries to my internet connection today for going down all day until just now, preventing me from blogging, and therefore getting into my daily schedule. Spousal Unit, who is marvelously handling all things non-dissertation related these days, has called and complained and they’re coming on Thursday, sometime between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Nice. How do regular people (i.e. those not able to sit at home all day while doing a dissertation) get anything repaired?

Ok. So, I am going to blow this deadline. Which is really awful because I told the advisor on Friday that I’d have the chapter to him today. It is still not done, and I am overwhelmed and really unhappy with the thought of writing more of it. My only ray of hope was that he hadn’t responded to the email of shame sent on Friday. Then I checked my email, dammit. So, today I’m going to take the coward’s route and just not reply. I’ll just sit here with my hands over my eyes going “la la la, I can’t see you nice short little email telling me to turn the chapter in to his mailbox.”

I’m in all kind of angst with the rest of this chapter. I can’t seem to make a logical trajectory that doesn’t seem either forced or stupidly obvious. All of the things I say to introduce and discuss the quotations sound repetitive and inane. And, I don’t know which part to talk about, a or b, c or d, and since they’re all really tangled up with each other, it isn’t like there is a logical alphabetical order to put the discussion into.

And, let me tell you, I’m so sick of it and of myself and my own crap about it, I’m starting to get angry. Maybe that will help. Or maybe it will make me feel worse about myself and the fact that I’ve now missed the 58th deadline for chapter 2. Isn’t there a magic dissertation fairy out there somewhere who will just come and wave a wand and make it all better?

I wrote the above 2 hours ago. I just now finished a nice long talk with a good friend who in the course of conversation reminded me of something I had once told her, that Spousal Unit’s Dissertating Cousin had told me: Never Quit on a Hill. It’s a running metaphor (which I don’t do. Running, that is not metaphors. Although I don’t do those very often.) — but I guess when you’re out running you shouldn’t quit on an uphill climb, or it will all be over. The friend had called me for advice and wound up helping to remind me that nobody ever wants to quit on a downhill. It is only on the uphill climb that opting out of the whole thing altogether looks good. I don’t know anybody who has said, you know, I’m flying high and coasting down this hill, I think I’ll quit now. Thanks, dear friend, for this timely reminder at a hard moment for me, but an even harder moment for you.

-S.

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5 responses to “Day 14: Never Quit on a Hill

  1. OK, if we don’t want to quit on the downhill and should not quit on the uphill, I suggest: All u-turns should be made on the flat. But when is it ever flat?

    Forgive me for commenting on the dissertation process when I have never done one, but I wonder… Could the function of the advisor be to take the draft as it is, at some point that is only quasi done, and give you more comments for a couple of rounds? Or is that unreasonable? It feels so “all or nothing” right now and I hate that feeling. Just a thought.

    Thanks for the metaphor. I will use it again and remember it when I feel the burn myself.

    Last thought. Maybe angry is good. You seem to have loved this project and not wanted it to end and now maybe you are getting mad enough at it to give it (toss it?) away to your committee? Put it in a safe place!

  2. PS. I think this is why teenagers were invented. When my children were young, I could never image letting them leave home. And then they become so difficult and wore me down and suddenly, there I was wishing they would just go to college. And they were only 14 at that point! Maybe your disseration is a teenager now?

  3. I think the running metaphor and the teenager one are both really good. Teenagers may fight back, but that’s only because they are developing their own personality, and if that fits for your writing, then that’s a very good thing.
    I actually do run, and the not stopping on a hill thing is very important. There’s also a very wonderful type of joy in running up a hill that is really tough and knowing that it can’t stop you.
    This hill can’t stop you.

  4. I was going to say just what Suz suggested – that you give your advisor what you’ve done as a draft. Then at least he sees what stage you’ve got to and might even be able to help ?? Keep at it, you’ve got lots of virtual support out here in the ether!

  5. Thanks, guys! You all are just lovely.

    I think the teenager metaphor is apt, but I’m more inclined to think of this dissertation as the 25 year old slacker child living in my basement, mooching all my food, leaving dirty laundry around, and refusing to pay rent. Although I do like the notion that it is so uncomfortable right now because it is asserting its independence, that it is trying to get out and away. That works, definitely.

    I would just give him what I’ve got, but it isn’t a completed draft. If I was just tinkering away with phrasing, etc. I’d hand the thing in. But, I’m still composing, really. It would be like handing him the story without the punchline. So, I’ve just got to make that punchline happen. Ha! I’ve just got to punch out a few more lines… (sorry, bad punning is dreadful this early in the morning!)

    Thanks again for the virtual support. It is overwhelming, really.

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