This weeks resolution: I will write blog entries for the next five days (one per day) about whatever my friends post in the comments on my Facebook Page.
Pride & Prospectus
It started off innocently enough, just a few pages spread out next to her along the empty side of the bed where her husband used to sleep before he was relegated to the couch next to the heater and their one, thin blanket that he’d wrestled away from their dog Jim. Mara thought there was no harm in falling asleep curled up with the thin, smooth pieces of paper. 8 ½ X 11, glossy finish. She thought about the sound of the printer whirring and the words neatly pressed on paper, printed on paper? There was ink involved, it smelled like the aftershave of great men, or women, let’s not try to gender this thing so much. Or maybe we should look at it through a gendering lens, and understand that in many ways this story, the story of how she fell in love with her dissertation, is a story of one woman, no, person, no per-daughter and the soft caress of pages against skin, the high that comes from a first chapter, the climax of those final pages.
Early one morning Mara woke up to her husband standing over her. She smelled that faint smell of propane gas that comes from sleeping right in front of the heater. He reached down and fondled the pages next to her.
“Mara,” he said. “I think we should go to couples counseling.”
That evening in the counselor’s office, which was actually the basement of his house that he shared with his mother, their counselor leaned over and peered at them through his round, black rimmed glasses.
“I think I have just the thing for you,” he said. The counselor reached over to his bookshelf and pulled out a thin pamphlet, he handed it to Mara.
So You’ve Fallen In Love With Your Dissertation.
“There’s an app for that,” Mara thought. She smiled to herself. Mara nodded in the direction of the marriage counselor but didn’t say a word.
When they got to the café after the appointment Mara’s husband opened the pamphlet and sat down next to her. Mara leaned in and read along with him.
So, you’ve fallen in love with your dissertation. That man meat of a dissertation. That strong armed, willful, challenging dissertation. You’ve thought- it’s just like in the movies where at first I hate this dissertation, I think “I cannot believe this dissertation thinks it is better than me simply because I have a social climbing mother, a bunch of crazy sisters, and I am from a poor family. I can’t believe this dissertation is going to try and break up my sister and the rich beau she falls in love with simply because this dissertation is concerned with whether or not my sister really loves his friend or is in fact just trying to secure her future. ” Soon, though, you start to realize that you actually might kind of love your dissertation. Then your dissertation tells you that he was the one who broke up your sister and sent her into a tailspin of sadness. And you are all “Dissertation! I will never forgive you!” But then your dissertation helps your ne’er-do-well little sister who ran away with some dude to save face (and your family’s reputation) by paying for her wedding and setting her up with $10,000 pounds. Oh dissertation! You really do love me! And you aren’t so freaking prejudice… or prideful… or whatever. And you and your dissertation will live happily ever after.
Well, let me just say, SNAP OUT OF IT! Your dissertation is not going to be there with you much longer. You are going to turn that sucker in and then you will get it approved and then your dissertation will swear that you can easily turn it into a book, but that’s not true. You’ll end up scrapping a lot of it. You’ll wonder how you let your dissertation get away with so much. You’ll wonder what you saw in it in the first place. Trust me, I’ve been there. And now I’m a successful (meaning, I have a job) professor and I haven’t even thought about my dissertation in years! Nobody read it. Nobody asks me about it. One time I pulled it off my shelf and used it as a fly swatter. You are too good for your dissertation. You’re better than your dissertation. You deserve more. This pamphlet will help you to realize, you too can get over your dissertation.
Mara nodded and sipped her tea. She leaned her head on her husband’s shoulder. She continued reading.
Step 1: Stop sleeping with your dissertation.
About This Blog:
This is the stuff I do to survive Graduate School.
It's also other stuff I do in life.
My life is mostly Graduate School.
Cutcha RIsling Baldy is a PhD Candidate in Native American Studies at UC Davis.