Thursday, October 25, 2007

day one

I almost don't know where to start.

This is like my 100th post and I'm down to the LAST DAY of work on the dissertation. I'm glad I did the postings. It's helped me get a handle on what I was doing and what still had to be done. It also puts 'time' into the equation of getting a big task done. Time transformed into narrative. Which, when all is said and done, is pretty much what 'life' is: time transformed into narrative. (by means of joy, hunger, experience, suffering, beauty, hope. . . .)


I'm feeling quite quiet. There is a lot still to be done, but I am very calm about it. I got through all of chapter 5 last night except for the part on "hope and meaning". And that part took me a long time to write, too, as you may recall. . . . Now it looks like much of it will be cut. It's just too much here at the end. Plus (and this is good) I've really already made the point I wanted to make in previous chapters. So I don't need to re-invent the wheel.

More good stuff: Magda really seems to 'get it' now, here at the end. She's not fighting me with where I'm going in the Introduction and Conclusion. I think that may be part of why I was so resistant to writing it: in the past, whenever I've tried to talk about my take on what the problem was, she has moved into her perception of where the problem - and possible solution - is. Although we both admire Paul Ricoeur, we do so for different reasons. It took me some time to figure this one out.

Her final email - returning her comments on the Conclusion - was "Again: well done. Good luck with the printing."

Now let's just hope it flies. I have several large hurdles to go (beyond the physical bit of getting the thing turned in): one, the difficulty of the inter-disciplinary approach wherein my primary academic credentials lie in a discipline other than the one I am submitting in; and two, the American versus Continental issue. And that second one is a bigger problem than many people would think.

But first: finish the task before me. For today:

  1. Ruthless edit of 'hope and meaning' section of chapter 5.

  2. Incorporate Magda's comments to Intro and Conclusion (actually, I think I'll do this before I do chapter 5, because it'll give me a handle on the really important big-picture points which will help me not care so much about cutting confusing clutter in the more detailed bits. . . .)

  3. Check footnotes throughout.

  4. Check formatting - titles, etc. - for consistency

  5. Adjust pagination start numbers for each chapter

  6. Print out one copy (American letter size)

  7. Go through and check footnotes with Bibliography entries (and correct)

  8. Go through and correct Table of Contents to reflect actual final headings and page numbers

  9. Final spelling & grammar correct (to whatever level that's possible)

  10. Print out 2 copies on A4-sized paper and package to go to Dublin. (oh - and make cd copy of files to go with him, just in case. . . .)

OK. This was maybe not such a good idea. Figuring even just an hour for each task - which is a pipedream - that's 10 hours right there. sigh.

It's gonna be a LONG DAY. And a LONGER NIGHT. . . .

But no. It's good to know what needs to be done. Now the trick will be to transform it into manageable bits, rather than staring - transfixed - at the HUGE AMOUNT THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE like a mouse hypnotized in front of a cobra.

Run, prophet, run!!!

and get to work.

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