Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I haven't really been gone...

I realize it's 9 days since my last post, but I always knew I had not abandoned this.  Work was crazy when I went back, scrambling to complete a particular project that lasted several days and then I started the weekend with big dreams of writing and finishing a chapter of the dissertation.  That didn't exactly happen, but what did occur was my usual method of delving so heavily into the research that I felt almost afraid to put pen to paper, or in my case, fingers to keyboard.  As with most dissertations and writing projects, the more you research, the more you feel you need to research and aren't informed enough.  And of course, all of my ideas got turned upside down around Saturday afternoon when I discover an entirely new (and promising) angle for the chapter I'm writing.  The new angle, though, involved the abject, as theorized by Julia Kristeva in Powers of Horror.  Having never read much (ok, any) Kristeva and only glancing at her ideas here and there, reading about her theories through Judith Butler, I felt a little intimidated about incorporating the idea into my work.  But I just had a feeling that it *had* to be included.  Stress, stress, and more days of inactivity (aside from reading), and finally, I decided to reach out to my major professor from my M.A. program--who no longer teaches but is now an artist living in New England.  She's the most brilliant person I've ever known, and even she had never read much (ok, any) Kristeva.  But she's since looked Kristeva over, given me some good feedback, and I felt so encouraged by her words that I was up and still writing at 2am this morning.  Unfortunately, writing that late made me sluggish all day today and I didn't get much accomplished, but I'm sure the mental fires will burn some more this evening, and I'll write write write, but only around tonight's episode of Lost. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

No Excuses Sunday

When last I posted, I had promised to work on my dissertation, and I did.  But I only wrote a page.  That's a page more than I had, but certainly not enough.  Still, I won't make excuses.  I'll just commit to doing better next time.  Today is Easter, and the sun is shining brightly.  I'll be going to the Botanical Gardens today to take some pictures.   I was there last year in the summer to look around and it's a really beautiful place, so I'm sure the spring flowers in bloom will be very inspiring for some good photographs.

To support my photography goals, I'm planning on creating my own flickr account to store my collections of pictures I've been taking, and I also purchased Photoshop to complement the Aperture I already owned.  I have tons to learn about Photoshop, but I've been assured some lessons from a friend.  In the meantime, I'm trying to remember some of the basic applications.  Aperture has proven easier so far in terms of basic enhancements and modifications to the image.  I'm posting a before and after shot I was playing with earlier from a photo I took in London at Trafalgar Square in June 2009.  I'm still playing around with the intensities, but you get the idea of what can be done.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A stroll through the park

On Thursday and Friday, I decided to walk through the park and through Midtown since the weather has been so amazing.  It was an effort to begin my commitment to finding things to photograph.  Over the two days of exploring, I probably took 40 pics.  The one I'm showing here is of a Japanese Magnolia in full bloom just inside the entrance to Piedmont Park.  I love how the blooms look like tulips springing out of the tree limbs.

As for today, it's still beautiful out, and I'm tempted to do some more exploring, but I know I need to get some work done on the dissertation, another of my commitments to finish on time.  I figure I have 5 months before I need to hand stuff over for final review, and at this point, I've turned in only 1 chapter and have pieces of 3 others that I haven't touched in 5 years.  Most days, I could care less about finishing, but I just think if I don't, I'll spend a lifetime regretting that I didn't, even though it means more right now to my mother and grandmother that I'm called "Doctor" than it does to me.  Even still, I'm going to give it a shot, so today, I need to map out the remainder of my outline for my second chapter.  I have about 15 pages so far, and I think it will easily blossom into 35-40 pages when I'm done.  (Don't you love all the springtime discourse making its way into my post?  Somewhat unintentional, I assure you.)

I suppose by day's end we'll see what I've actually accomplished.  I feel worried that I'm going to spend all this time writing the dissertation only to miss the ultimate deadline, but I keep in my mind that my friend Becky wrote her entire dissertation from scratch in four months.  Since I have some bits & pieces already assembled, I'm hoping I can flesh mine out in five and have something final by early September to hand in to my committee.

So off we go to explore Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, I guess.

Friday, April 2, 2010

And so, it begins...

I've blogged before but have never been very consistent with it.  This time will be different.  I wanted to start a blog to help me pursue a few goals (both long & short-term) and to ensure that I met them by establishing a means of accountability.  What better way to account for your activities than a blog, right?
The goals I have are to find a few things and finish a few others.

Specifically, I'm hoping to find:

  • a new job
  • a new relationship
  • new things to photograph
  • new places to explore
And I'm hoping to finish:

  • my dissertation for my Ph.D.
  • my first novel

I figure by requiring myself to write about my progress on these things daily (with no excuses and no whining), I'll manage to succeed.  So that's the challenge, and here's where it begins.  More details to come.