Sunday, January 29, 2006
Welcome to the Dissertation Abattoir
Where the Studious Are Bathed in the Blood of the Ignorant

I'm considering having this carved into a sign which I can either mount over my door or wear around my neck, Scarlet-Letter-style. May as well have an actual, physical symbol of this symbolic albatross I'm dragging around.

Back when I first decided to take a year off, I had these lofty ambitions that I would use my time well. Like I would float through my days, simultaneously cooking gourmet meals and losing weight, parenting with fondness and attachment yet enough distance so as to create independent but affectionate children, and staying impressively on top of all correspondance, business and personal. I would learn new arts and crafts skills, and would become competent at any household repair. I would read good books, as soon as I figured out what qualified as "good." And, of course, I would finish my dissertation.

Pardon me while I bang my head on the table until I knock myself unconscious.

Oh, that's not to say I've been a total failure. I have cooked well, though not creatively. I most definitely have not lost weight, but nor have I gained enough to make my pants whimper when I walk in the room. I think I'm doing a good job at the parenting thing... my kids haven't set up a sacrifical altar or reverted to fetal motions, so it's a good start. I'm not great with correspondance, but nor am I embarrassing with it. I have learned to knit, and I've realized that I wasn't incompetent with household repairs to begin with. And I've read, a little, here and there.

So, that leaves the dissertation. The big, bad source of guilt handing over my head, or, to be precise, spread out on my office floor. The horrible thing about it is, the hardest part is already done. I've come up with the idea, written a proposal, and had the proposal accepted. All I have to do is clean up the edges and then actually DO the proposed work, neither of which is intimidating or overwhelming. Except for the fact that they intimidate and overwhelm me to the level of total immobility and mental paralysis.

I really don't know why I haven't worked on it more. Sure, it doesn't exactly mesh smoothly into a life characterized by diapers and holding hands when we cross the street, but then again, when has anything ever meshed smoothly into my life? I thrive in chaos.

Hah, see that right there? That's a little thing called rationalization. "I thrive on chaos." Bah. I wouldn't recognize a boring, quiet life if it jumped up and bit me on the ankle. I don't have any choice but to thrive in chaos.

So, I really need to stop procrastinating, and enter the dissertation abattoir.

Or just keep procrastinating... you know, whatever...