Deciding to stay

Photo credit – Michael. (Isn’t he clever?)

I had planned to fly to England today. But on Sunday night, I found myself wishing desperately that I had another two weeks at my desk. M said – why don’t you stay? He headed off to Finland today, and he’s going to Washington on Friday, without coming back here. Why not? I thought. I will. I have nearly two weeks of space and quiet to think and write and crystallize (yep, Genevieve, z is definitely prettier). Not that I don’t when he’s around. I love when he’s around. But you know.

And it feels good. Right at the end of last week, things started coming together. In a slow steady way. I sort of knew I was setting myself up for a fall last weekend when I declared I would have the most productive week ever. Because really there was no chance in Hell I could polish off three messy chapters in a week. Three weeks, now (including the one that’s gone), is another matter.

Anyway, I am still here. And it feels good. It feels like a gift. A gift of time, for me, to hang out with my thesis. To be kind to it. To attend to it. To notice its best bits and help them to shine. And this gentle attention is getting me a lot further than the panic I was in a week ago. I have realised I do not need to go fast. I just need to go steadily, and carefully, to hold many things in my mind and let a few things go. Because this thesis is mine and I love it, and even if flaws remain (they always do) it will still be a good thing.

So, for now, I am a little fish. Swimming steadily, strong but light. If I get stuck on or tired of one chapter, I will flick back to the other one, and make slow steady progress there. I must start working on my Webb chapter (the first one I wrote, the last one I will finish) within the next couple of days, so it has time to simmer and float with the others. Because really, I am quite a circular thinker.

And I will finish by the end of March. I will hand it in. For the first time I believe this.

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9 thoughts on “Deciding to stay

  1. Absolute heaven, 2 weeks of peace and quiet. I could do with that right now to get to grips with my chapter. I keep being distracted with other problems which I can’t ignore. I’ve got a supervision next week and I thought I had two weeks after my holiday but hey here we are with only one and loads of reading to do and a plan to put bfore the queen (my lovely patient supervisor) on Tuesday. This year hasn’t gone too well, first of all Liz is on sabbatical which means I havn’t seen very much of her and we hav had a lot of personal issues to deal with which hav takn up my time. Having Jeorgia to live with us has also taken up more time and energy than I thought it would. The teaching takes up a lot of time as well because of the travelling time. However I’m now on track but i nice big space of two weeks in isolation would be great. Not to be however so I’ll just have to knuckle down. We stayed in a lovely gite in Brittany last week and I thought what a great place it would be to rent to write my thesis, lovely little house, great owners, in the middle of the peaceful countryside but still close enough to a town and village to make things manageable. I could see myself sitting at the table with the door open listening to the birds singing. Great!!
    Good luck with your two week writing space. xx

  2. I know what it is like writing a thesis when your heart’s clearly somewhere, with some other people đŸ™‚ But then again, when there’s a wish, there’s a will.

    I wish you all the best!

  3. thanks for believing too guys!!!

    clarissa – thanks for the good wishes! my heart’s actually right here, now. it’s nice. (i have felt the feeling you’re talking about many times though.)

    good luck with yours cristy – i’m glad you’re feeling positive too. i can’t believe how you do it with a small child.

    oh liz it sounds like it’s been quite a year! i hope you find some space in your days. just one little bit at a time. that’s the amazing thing i’m finding, as i pull it all together – every bit of work i did for three and a half years adds up! even if you feel like you’re not quite cracking it, you’re doing the ground-work, which takes the most time anyway. i couldn’t bear to look at my murray chapter two weeks ago but it hasn’t taken much to make it work, and that would have been impossible without the draft i already had…

    dr s – i love that description of writing you have in your profile – about it being like a child stringing beads in a kindergarten. so beautiful and calming and simple…

  4. Sounds as if you and your thesis have chosen the good and right place to be right now. Swim on little fish! I can imagine it circling and settling and filling the space you have made for it now.

  5. Yeah, if I could believe that definition, or even remember that it’s there ON MY OWN BLOG, I would be a much happier writer! It’s daily work to get into that beginner’s mind and stay there. On the other hand, for me it’s almost no effort to get there in the classroom. In the classroom, I’m there in the middle of beginner’s mind and flow and all those great things the creativity gurus talk about. That’s my art.

    Write on!

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