Thursday, April 28, 2005

Checking In

Huzzah! My month of unmitigated hell is very nearly complete. Well, okay, I'm being a bit dramatic -- but what would blogs be without hyperbole? I recently had a conference in reference to my wife: 'How is she liking America?' 'She likes it well enough. Working quite a bit.' 'Ah, good. She's keeping busy.' It should not surprise you to learn that I am not especially keen on this notion that busy-ness is, by default, a good thing. If anything, in my mind, it is by default a bad thing. But, whatever.

'Where ya been?' Such has been the question of some commenters and emailers. To those who ask such a question, or inquire about my blogging laziness, I direct their attention here, where I think I explain myself ahead of time.

As it goes, the thesis is, I'm not going to say 'finished', doing rather well. While I likely was not as productive as I would have wished, I'm on the verge of beginning May with renewed excitement that it may very well be done soon. (Which is another way of saying, it won't be finished in May, but I'll feel really good about the prospect of it not being finished in June because surely it won't be long after that!) I realized sometime this past month something I had sort of sensed not too long ago but had not truly understood, that the key to writing an academic monograph is no different than that of many other non-academic writing projects: keep it simple. The meaning, of course, of simple may be a bit different, but functionally, the cliché remains the same: i.e., find a central point or argument, argue / present it, and rinse and repeat with each successive chapter. Few are the books or authors who do anything at all different, save for those study history, not to mention the occasional 'primary source', who by virtue of their primacy can do whatever the fuck they want how they want -- as well as the occasional secondary source writer who regards himself / herself as a primary source, and thus churns out secondary source material in really of shitty primary source form.

All this, as you may well know, is a very obvious thing. Indeed, perhaps a little too simple for my sophisticated readers: 'Bully for you, Brad, you figured that out on your own ... and it took you three years!'

What other explanations? I've also be travelling a bit. After spending a weekend in Syracuse a couple of weeks ago (for an account of my misadventures, see here and here), I frantically readied myself for two weeks back in Scotland, where I am currently writing this post now. Very little to report at the moment, I'm afraid. A couple of days of general surliness, due to an inability to get enough rest, delivered a ninety-minute lecture yesterday on Buddhism, met with the advisor, and drank the ales that I'd forgotten tasted so good when so damn fresh .... that's been about it, in a nutshell. Now that I'm rested, and I have no intention of working on the thesis at all, in spite of the fact I brought half of my research library with me, I should be more fully alert to make the necessary mental notes and syntheses to formulate the laugh-out-loud funny posts that you've never been accustomed to experiencing here at Silentio. Best of luck to us all.