Sunday, 29 February 2004

a small thing of note

i would just like to say i have finished my thesis.

since handing it in on friday to my supervisor for the final check before getting it soft-bound for the markers, i have eaten a lot of ice cream, drunk some champagne, watched several episodes of seachange, wandered around the city, had high tea at the QVB, indulged in a little retail therapy, gone to bed early because i couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, had lunch with friends and cleaned up the piles of crap that had been building up in corners of my room for the last couple of months but which i hadn't tidied up because it could be construed as procrastination (that's my excuse, anyway). and i haven't felt guilty because i should be reading or writing, and the tiredness i feel has been well earned.

i am off to the old fitzroy tonight to see the play metropolitan operas, which heath, richard and neil phipps are in, and matt gaskin directed. it seems like just about everyone i know will be going, which is kind of nice, but i wish i had more energy! still, beer, laksa and a show will be a good way to cap off the weekend.

and then - to asia! singapore on wednesday, KL on sunday, back to sydney the following weekend. it will be good to be elsewhere and this time i hope i am going into it without any false hopes (last time i thought it was going to be a good bonding experience but it...wasn't). singapore will be fun, as i will be splurging on a verrry nice hotel with catherine and imi, and our friend sony will also be there so we'll be able to go out and drink singapore slings till we collapse, if need be. well, maybe only sony and i can do that; i don't think a baby would do too well and catherine probably needs to be mostly sober. ;) nah, i reckon lots of good eating will be the order of the day.

how lucky am i?! :)

Monday, 16 February 2004

the birthday thief and windows into other worlds

i keep forgetting birthdays. not my own, although i've started referring to myself as being 28, which is odd because there's another two months until i am that officially, and i had real trouble remembering that i'm 27 all year. could be a senior moment, or could just be that i prefer even numbers.

i keep forgetting friends' birthdays on a more and more frequent basis and it annoys me because if your friends don't remember your birthday then what's the point? you may as well stop ageing at 25 and just say you're having a really long year.

so if i have forgotten your birthday recently, which is most likely as i haven't remembered anyone's, then i am deeply apologetic.

i wanted to drive today. i got in my car to drive home and i just wanted to keep going, turn left down the princes highway and see where i ended up. instead i behaved myself, turned right into king street and went home.

i have a jeffrey smart print on my wall, called the dome. it was painted in 1977 and shows a typically smart-esque stormy sky, the dome of a building, a green tree, a golden field and, in the foreground, a red and white striped post. describing it as a collection of objects makes it sound ridiculous, but there is something in the quality of the image that strikes me. makes me think of silence and sadness and solitude and peace. it's like a window into another world, above my desk, and some days i think i would like to be sitting in that golden field.

Saturday, 14 February 2004

the weekend of torturous postulating

i'm theoretically locked away, finishing my thesis.

so far i have entered in all the corrections and highlighted areas my supervisor thinks needs some work. and some of those i found on my own too! (it is very embarrassing to find all these typos and syntactially bizarre sentences my supervisor had marked out, especially when i realise that they were mostly due to sloppy cut-and-pastes...he must have been wondering where the hell i learned to write)

then i went and read the paper and had some lunch. then i decided my back was still hurting and so i should lie down for a while. then i checked my email. again.

now this blogging is the last resort. i have exhausted all the other superficial procrastinatory avenues and any further time wastage would actually involve some effort. so now i have to work out what i'm trying to say and finish this stupid thesis.

it was quite exciting to realise that the thesis thus far actually does have a point. it is so easy to forget the point and wander aimlessly round and round in circles, especially in a longer piece. much of the despair i've been feeling is due to feeling like i've lost my way and i'm stumbling down the wrong path.

i hate the disconnected criticism of a supervisor or marker. when you actually have a conversation with them about the work you realise that many of their markings weren't as harsh as they came across on paper and i usually then remember how harsh i can be when editing work for other people. but the deflating effect of scribblings and underlines and offhand remarks in the margin can be difficult to avoid. from what i can gather, my supervisor doesn't appreciate certain elements of my style - obviously subtle attempts at humour don't work, anything remotely creative in style doesn't work...i take the point that critical academic writing follows a certain pattern, but i've always been drawn to the type of writing that is a bit more informal, a bit more conversational. that's not to say i like only lightweight, popular-styled theory, but it makes it much easier to digest and i have little patience with wanky, needlessly elaborate and artless slabs of text. but maybe the lighter style is actually harder than it would seem, as every time i have tried to write in that kind of style in an essay or non-creative piece there are usually many more editorial marks about being vague or sloppy or charming notes like 'what?' 'who?' 'meaning?' scribbled throughout.

the funniest is when those things are marked next to a direct quote from a published text. what am i supposed to do then? just rewrite it? maybe i should send the notes on to the books' publishers.

Thursday, 12 February 2004

o what fun to be had

Stumbled across the Historic Tale Construction Kit. there are no words to describe it.

for some examples of what people with far too much time can produce (sometimes to hilarious effect) go to

Monday, 9 February 2004

hot hot hot

it is.

had the meeting with my supervisor today. it went okay, i suppose. i got some praise, and a lot of 'this is sloppy writing' type comments. it's hard to gauge how my supervisor really thinks sometimes; he has a way of talking that makes you feel like he's slightly irritated and just waiting for you to catch on. or like he's seen it all before. and then he'll say something very positive or flattering and usually i have to convince myself i actually heard him right.

i was going to work on the essay tonight, but it's just too hot to do anything much.

i'm reading northern lights by philip pullman at the moment and enjoying it immensely. i think i'm going to have to go out and buy the trilogy. you can tell i should be writing, because my reading matter regresses to light fiction, fantasy and/or material pitched at an early adolescent audience (or all three together). during other periods of uni work i am usually ensconced in a terry pratchett book, or re-reading harry potter for the zillionth time. i usually enjoy those books a lot at times like this - they're familiar, they're easy, and it means my downtime doesn't involve simply staring at a television screen. i usually can't concentrate on anything more complex when i'm writing.

i just finished oryx and crake before i started working again, and it was enough to inspire me to embark upon this new story that could be really funky and that makes bek ramble on excitedly when she talks about it (she should be my agent, i swear nobody promotes me as well as that girl). only problem is i have the uni work to do before i can do any other writing, and i'm just dying to get started on it properly. i'll just have to be content with sketches for the moment and hope i don't lose the thread before i have time to get stuck into it.

i did rearrange my room. i haven't cleaned out my cupboards yet. good to know that some procrastinatory habits die hard.

Thursday, 5 February 2004

errant academia 3: a resolution

so he emailed me back pretty quickly after this morning's email. turns out he was in a car accident and has been incapacitated for a while, as well as trying to finish his book by the end of feb.

well. i'm meeting with him on monday.

errant academia part 2

okay, so it turns out that my supervisor has been "back from leave for several weeks", according to my co-supervisor. and it sounds like she's quite concerned now...i wonder why he hasn't got back to me? sounds like we work in quite the same way - avoiding people until the last minute. unfortunately that doesn't really make for a good outcome!

i'm torn between feeling guilty and feeling annoyed. i know that for my part i should have been more active in seeking his help, giving him updates, and keeping in contact instead of sticking my head in the sand and hoping the thesis would write itself. but by the same token, he should have been keeping tabs on me and harrassing me when he hadn't heard from me for a while, even if he is super-busy as one of two creative writing lecturers on staff at the school.

this is why i don't want to be an academic, i'd be hopeless at it.

so i suppose there's nothing for it but to plow ahead and get the work done. at least my co-supervisor said she would read it and give me some feedback, so i'm not entirely adrift.

is there anyone out there who actually had a trouble-free experience with a supervisor? where writing a thesis was an enjoyable, intellectually stimulating experience and where meetings with supervisors were exciting exchanges of ideas with a little criticism and encouragement thrown in, but not mountains of defeat? maybe it's the nature of the beast, i don't know.

got to find me an artists' colony and go there for a long time.

Wednesday, 4 February 2004

errant academia

trying to get back into my thesis feels like that bit in donnie darko when he's poking the freaky rabbit guy in the eye with a knife (that might not have actually happened, that movie coalesced into one long bizarre moment for me) - kind of like i'm divorced from reality and trying to work out what's going on and making a mess of it in the meantime.

[of course, now i'm sitting here listening to tripod song-in-an-hour-challenges from the triple j breakfast show site and it's put me in a rather strange mood.]

i've emailed my supervisor and gotten no response, so now i've emailed my co-supervisor and hope i haven't crossed some weird, invisible line and offended anyone. 28 feb is not very far away...i keep avoiding the work and thinking i have plenty of time, but it's creeping up quite quickly. i will be immensely relieved when it's all over.

then i can get on with my cyborg story! :P

Monday, 2 February 2004

the amazing maurice

well, it's not maurice. it's aoise, which doesn't rhyme with maurice at all.

aoise has a website! it's very exciting and has the tendency to make me feel small and insignificant in the scheme of the universe (and also makes me think i should finally get around to getting myself a domain name, but that's another matter entirely...) she's just so busy! and an inspiration to someone who wants to be a working writer. if you hunt around you can find a photo of me as 'justine' in black saturday (not v. attractive, with scraped back hair) and me as 'ophelia' in ophelia's hamlet and along the watchtower (much more fetching, complete with tousled hair and a bit of a smoulder) and you will learn all sorts of wonderful things about how talented ms stratford is (as well as the fact that i used to act, once).

i long to see her. i wish i was rich. or had a lear jet. although having the second kind of presupposes the first.