Words and Wonders

From reading this blog, you’d be forgiven for thinking that doing a PhD comprises eating copious amounts of brownies, playing with sugary fish, and cavorting in the mountains and lakes of Norway. I actually do a lot of reading, a lot of thinking, and a lot of writing, too. I did make a new batch of PhD food to get me through the last few days of my chapter rewrite, and it did help. But what amazed me the most was that a chapter which had seemed like a lost cause suddenly started making sense, and all the disparate parts started gelling in exciting ways, and, lo and behold, a coherent argument emerged. That’s my opinion anyway. We’ll wait and see what the supervisors have to say about it.

I was going to write a detailed post about exactly how my chapter started working, and what it felt like, for my own benefit more than anything else. But it has been a tiring day, and I’m not sure how much there is to say. I always hesitate when restructuring things because while I’m in the middle of it I feel like I’m losing control, as though the whole thing is likely to blow apart and float aimlessly away. Of course this doesn’t happen. It inevitably improves. For all my watery metaphors, what writing really feels like is glowing points of light. That’s right, little stars, and when things start coming together, they begin pulsing, and overlapping, and talking to each other, and arranging themselves in new and deeper patterns. Yep. That’s how it feels. It all starts pulsing inside me, and it’s all my head and body can do to keep up, to hold on to the ideas, to type down the words before they float away again. It’s exciting when this happens, but I suppose it’s the culmination of the work put in during the times it doesn’t feel like it’s working, when it’s plodding and uninspiring. I’m glad I managed to write that down, cos it reminds me how happy it makes me, how it’s the best feeling in the world, even though it leaves you drained, exhausted.

Back to Leeds tomorrow, which is a bit sad. Only three and a half weeks, though, before I get to meet the lovie in Germany! I’ll be very busy – first moving house, then participating in the International Medieval Congress. I’m looking forward to the congress. And I’ll be very happy once I’ve moved – no more nasty neighbours. This time next week I’ll hopefully be unpacking.

Last night we celebrated mid-summer, first with a group of Norwegians, and later with three Swedes. Midsummer is a big thing in Sweden. A May-pole is involved. And lots of schnapps, and silly songs. And dances. We just got the schnapps and silly songs. It was great! Here are some Norway pictures, to keep me going till next time:

I kept meaning to take a picture of the lupins which have been thronging the roadsides for the last three weeks but are now beginning to fade.

6 thoughts on “Words and Wonders

  1. You are such a lovely thinker. I am glad the forms are coalescing into a whole: it will be some thing to read when it is finished…

    what a charming time in Norway.
    We just had the winter solstice. It seems significant, it always seems to mark something for me. A turning point, more than calendar dates.

    Think I’ll try that reading challenge you mentioned by the way.

  2. Thanks fifi. Midsummer doesn’t seem to mean much in Leeds unfortunately – we’ve got the floods now. Yes, join the challenge, that would be fun!

  3. 3 y.o. grand daughter was painting with me yesterday. She was building up to quite a crescendo with her muddy colour mixing and water splashing. Then she stopped and waited, picked up a clean smaller brush, carefully chose single colours and painted a face with body, arms and legs. The expression in her eyes as she looked up at me reminded me of your ‘words and wonders’ and your ‘happiness’ as you write and it all comes together.
    Well done, and thanks for helping us articulate so much that we are unable to articulate…

  4. Thanks troppo – what a beautiful image! So lovely to think of the wonder of creation as a human experience, even when you are only three years old.

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