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    Sobriquet 58.5

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009
    This semester is turning out to be a bit more demanding than I had initially assumed it would be, so I have not had quite as much time to work on the dissertation. Still, I have been doing a little work each day, continuing to follow the pattern that has gotten me this far. Having finished rereading Slow Man and "As A Woman Grows Older," I have moved onto the prewriting stage of the Intro and Afterword. I figure I will be able to alternate between rereading Diary of a Bad Year and transcribing notes on the various other texts I will discuss in the final bit of writing. That way, I can have a bit of variation in my daily routine. Hopefully that'll energize me a bit and keep me fresh.

    For tomorrow: Transcribe or read.

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    Sunday, September 27, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I am going to have to keep tonight's post extremely brief because I am "typing" it with my thumbs on an iPod Touch. At any rate, I am in a motel room in Pittsburgh, where I have spent the past two days, taking in a Pirates-Dodgers game at PNC Park and snapping pictures of the city. It has been a much-needed break for me, though I used my drive time to listen to an audiobook version of one of the novels I will be teaching this week and I should finish re-reading Coetzee's "As a Woman Grows Older" before calling it a night. That is, as soon as I finish grading a few more papers and prepping for classes. Ah, vacation!

    Also, having now finished re-reading Slow Man, I am literally only days away from the prewriting phases of the Introduction and Afterword of the dissertation.

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    Tuesday, September 22, 2009
    This past week has been a fairly productive one for me. On Friday, I spent close to a dozen hours putting together what may be the last substantial bit of bureaucratic work I need to finish before writing the Introduction and Afterword to my dissertation. Basically, I spent a solid twelve hours piecing together a document justifying what I have spent the past twenty-two months doing and outlining my the final pieces of writing I will need to officially finish the dissertation and transform myself from ABD to Doctor. I submitted the document on Saturday morning and received word this afternoon that it had been accepted. I will now begin preparing to write the Introduction and Afterword.

    The nice thing about my insanely crammed schedule this semester is the sense of urgency I feel whenever I have actually manage to secure a bit of time to work on my dissertation. I mean, it sucks to feel that sort of pressure, but it does spur one on. Of course, having finished my big task for the weekend and, not being able to proceed with my dissertation until I learned whether or not my submission was approved, having an uncommonly large chunk of free time, I put an audiobook in my stereo (yes, I was still preparing for classes) and drove up to Niagara Falls. It was delightful. And then the Bengals won. It was a good day.

    For tomorrow, etc.: Prepare for the home stretch.

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    Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    Well, I'm still here, still plugging away at the dissertation, though it hardly seems like it. Between the twelve-hour days I have been pulling at work and the seemingly interminable amount of preparation I need to do in order to teach the five classes I've got going this semester, I haven't had much time to write anything here. Likewise, I have not had a whole lot of time to work on the dissertation, but I have tried to read a few pages of Slow Man each evening before my body decides it can no longer keep itself awake. Once I finish the rereading, I hope to begin putting together the various synopses and filling in the many forms I will need to complete in order to take care of the administrative side of the degree. And once that's finished -- or, more likely, concurrent with it -- I intend to begin plotting out and writing the final bits of the actual dissertation. It still feel far away and I feel pressed for time.

    For tomorrow: Read and/or prep.

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    Monday, September 7, 2009
    One of the major difficulties many dissertation-writing students face is securing some semblance of economic stability while working on their scholarship. Grad school does, after all, cost money. As does the food and shelter one requires to prevent death while writing. Because I have opted not to take out any loans, I tend to work perhaps a bit more than some people in similar circumstances. Since I genuinely enjoy teaching, however, this is rarely something that I mind. In fact, I tend to be a bit more productive when I have a regular teaching schedule because, having significantly less free time, I feel more pressure to get my work done in a timely fashion. Still, this week has been a rough one.

    The beginning of any semester, of course, is a nerve-wracking experience as you try to cram all the bureaucratic errands that pop up into the same first few days of classes when you also have to prepare lesson plans and re-read the materials with which you will be teaching. Combined with the rather difficult transition from a schedule more in sync with my nocturnal tendencies to one more appropriate for, say, a dairy farmer, I did not have the smoothest of weeks, but I am satisfied with it, all things considered. I mean, I have continued rereading Slow Man even though I have had to read essays on educational theory, existential philosophy, part of the Bible, and the first chunk of a hefty Margaret Atwood novel for my classes. So, yeah. I'm still working on "me" stuff, but I have been too exhausted much of the time to write anything for the blog.

    For tomorrow: Read.

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