Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Dangling carrots

I have just recovered from having a draft chapter (that will hopefully serve as a conference paper, or perhaps it's the other way round...) knee-capped by my supervisor. Her criticisms were almost all valid (per ugge), but it's the old 50s-style no positive feedback or simple 'you can do it' encouragement which, made me, already tired and vulnerable, feel so punished.

I have this dreadful sense that I will, on some level, feel tired, defensive and inadequate until I submit (Kate???).

When you're in write-up mode, small escapes count, like yesterday when I rode up from my Department to Summertown, North Oxford. It was thrilling.

Here are a few carrots that I am dangling from a stick attached to my head:

1) The 12 October release of the Cohen Brothers movie, Burn After Reading. I am certain my cousin, cinemaphile Alice, will provide a deft analysis (hint hint!) on her blog. I saw the preview a couple of weeks ago and it made me feel uncomfortable excited, as if small stars were being drilled into my stomach. The cast alone makes you froth, right?

2) Seeing Frankie Boyle, the acerbic, outrageous Scottish comedian in early October. I just found this YouTube tribute to him. (Be warned. It contains a lot of slut jokes which makes him seem misogynistic instead of what he is: dark about everything.) Later that month, I am seeing Russell Howard, the little Brighton-born cutie who is less stinging than Frankie but no less witty. Click here for his YouTube salute. They're both regulars on an excellent television show I try to catch: Mock the Week, a satirical comedy based on the week's news.

3) Receiving used books from the exchange system, BookMooch. I have the black heart of an idealist - I can't quite believe that people are so honourable. Three goodies to....walk into my arms soon. I will let you know when they arrive.


Kate said...

Ah I understand the kneecapping all too well. And yes, I have never felt so neurotic and crazy as I have in these last eight or so weeks. It's much worse (I imagine) than childbirth will be. And if it isn't, then I will be pretty angry that anything will be harder than submitting!

Things I have learned thus far:
-A kneecapping from a supervisor is better than one in your viva. So suck it up and take it on board as best you can. Whingeing is a definite necessity, here! (I have re-worked my abstract - yes the 350-word bit at the beginning - at least SEVEN times, and each time it gets sent back with a different problem...)

-Looking forward to dangling carrots is a must! I'm focusing on very small carrots, like ticking things off lists etc, (let's say calling them carrots right now is generous...)

-Talk to other people (like moi!) who are going through the same thing. At least you can listen when the going gets tough.

As for the film? That is a big carrot!! Can't wait - I am literally squealing with excitement about it ever since seeing the trailer a while back. Am also v jealous of your book mooching - they don't seem to have critical mass in Oz yet, so I'm not sure it's worth it over here...

Big hugs - you'll survive this!

Monkey Mind said...

Thanks for the sprinkling of thoughtful, soothing words, Kate.

Monkey Mind said...

I hope you read my comments on your 'the unknown' post.

Alice said...

Oh my lordy, Jud, I have the Burn After Reading trailer on my iPod! It doesn't come out here until October 16, so I wait with breath that is bated.
May have to do an anticipation blog on anticipation!

Looks like you'll be up for some giggles soon too and hopefully these carrots will restore your sense of equilibrium, and your kneecaps!