Progress Report

Welcome to my new blog-home! I was seduced by the potential for the little tabby things on the top. Not that I’ve made anything of them yet. I’m still unpacking boxes and shifting around the furniture. And yes, it was slightly more appealing to construct a shiny new blog than to write another abortive paragraph of my introduction…

I can’t believe I’ve been here three weeks. Normally I’d be preparing to leave again, so it’s rather nice not to be. The first week was brilliant work-wise. It felt amazing to actually have some time to write for a change. And I did. I worked solid days – I was headachy and irritable by the end of them, but that was only because I’d been concentrating so hard. I was fueled by urgency. I went cycling in the evenings. Early in the mornings I’d walk to the harbour to watch the glassy sheen, or the small waves lapping the sides of the boats, and by the time I walked back the day’s first sentences were already forming in my head. I can’t believe it, I thought, this is going to be easy.

Um, no. Last week misery and drudgery set in, but I ploughed on through it – revising a whole chapter and doing some important reading for my introduction. This week I’ve been less miserable but I’ve got less done. I decided that the introduction was more pressing than revising the chapters, and as a result I’ve spent much of the past five days staring crossly at a blank page. All the confidence and enthusiasm has evaporated. I can’t see the wood for the trees.

I’ve been reading a lot about the history of literary criticism in Australia, so I can position myself with regards to it. (On instruction from my supervisor.) I’ve read a rather spiffy recent book on Australian literature by my internal examiner, and another not-so-spiffy book on postcolonial poetry by someone else. This book seemed strained and too generalised, and it kept saying things like ‘this book has been written under the premise that the currency of ‘postcolonial’ will meet with a natural datedness when societies shed postcolonial dependency and move closer to their dream of cultural autonomy’. I find this uncomfortable on several levels: ‘postcolonial dependency’? What’s that? And if mainstream Australia is no longer ‘dependent’ in a postcolonial way, what about Indigenous Australians? More worryingly, what is ‘cultural autonomy?’ How can any culture be autonomous? And what nation or society has only one culture? Luckily most of the Australian critics I’ve been reading share this concern…

Anyway, it’s all interesting in its own way, but I’ve forgotten how it relates to what I’m doing. Or why what I’m doing is interesting or significant. I’ll get there. I have to. I usually feel like this about whatever project I’m working on at some point or another…

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5 thoughts on “Progress Report

  1. Welcome to WordPress. I find it pretty much works. The answer to your “related posts…” question is here, by the way: I found it by going to the WordPress.com frontpage and clicking FAQ, then searching it for `related’; this was top hit. They have things more or less organised.

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