Day 18 (I think): I’d Rather Clean the Litter Box

I spent today reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – I started it around Christmas, and savored it for a long time, then got too into it when I needed to be working. And, since I’ve got nothing else better to be doing right now, I picked it up again. Fortunately, I finished it, and so am now free to return to the quagmire of the dissertation tomorrow.

I wrote 3 sentences yesterday AND rearranged some note cards, so I thought that was enough to justify going with Spousal Unit to see Batman Begins in a matinee. The film? Badly edited in places, badly written in places, but mostly entertaining and enjoyable. And, you’ve just got to love a film that has Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Rutger Hauer, and Gary Oldman as the supporting players. (Big shocker — Rutger Hauer plays a bad guy. Morgan Freeman plays a good guy.) It was also a bit loud. I had to put my fingers in my ears to prevent the sound from driving out my brain through my ears a number of times. But, I blame that on the two-bit local corporate theater rather than the film.

A friend recently wrote to me that she knew the dissertation was awful when she would write a few lines and almost reach the end of a paragraph and then get all excited because when she finished that paragraph she got to get up and scoop the cat poop. I thought this was about the best description of the dissertation process ever. You know it is totally horribly brutal when you’d rather be cleaning the litter box than writing your dissertation. She’s a lot more disciplined than I am — she waits to get to the end of the paragraph before getting up to do the only slightly less disagreeable task. I opted this week to do the agreeable tasks first. But, if you play, you pay, right? So, tomorrow I’ll pay. I’ll start back at the beginning, taking baby steps toward a goal of really writing each day.

One of the friends we hung out with tonight also had good advice. He said that there are two kinds of dissertations — 1. the kind you are proud of and feel good about and 2. the kind that are done. He reminded me that the second kind are the only kind that exist. Nobody is ever proud of the text of the first. I don’t think I need to be proud, I just need to not be horrified. Is there somewhere in between that I can find? I hope so. And, I hope with everything I’ve got that I begin to find it tomorrow.

Good night, all –


6 responses to “Day 18 (I think): I’d Rather Clean the Litter Box

  1. Good wisdom! Done is a beautiful word.

    Happy, Content., Living… a lot trumps Proud

    Have a beautiful day and thanks for inspiring me to do the same.

  2. yes, my oven got clean during the dissertation writing process…

  3. Timna,
    Thanks for stopping by and suggesting that I clean the oven, I hadn’t thought of that one, and boy does it need it!!


  4. Hilarious! Me: I’m working on organizing the basement. The upside is I found some forgotten articles in a file cabinet down there that gave me some new dissertation ideas…

  5. Jonathan Benda

    “I don’t think I need to be proud, I just need to not be horrified.” I’ve got to hang that sentence on my wall. Maybe it’ll inspire me to finish my diss.

    But first I’m off to learn calligraphy…

  6. Ooo- the basement — also a brilliant idea! I know for a fact I have a box labeled : “Dissertation — Important” down there that I’m afraid to look at. And Calligraphy! So, so many better things to do OTHER than the dissertation! Lately, I’ve also been seriously thinking about teaching myself to play the banjo. I don’t know why. I can’t read music, despite 5 years of piano, 4 years of flute, and one semester of cello which was the worst because you don’t even make notes when you get it wrong just dying cow sounds — but the banjo has seemed like a good idea lately. And I don’t even really like banjo music. It is amazing what else you can find to do when there is something that really needs doing.

    Welcome Jonathan and Yvette!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s