Thursday, May 14, 2009

In which I pretend I am Thomas the Rhymer

I've been stoked for the past forty-eight hours after my successful thesis defense, but in keeping with my m.o. of dualist dyads, I've been simultaneously flustered by free time. What am I supposed to do when I'm not sitting in the library working on that paper every free moment? What am I supposed to think about without it pressing on me?

I was feeling exceptionally panicked when I got up Tuesday morning. Finally I told myself that I was being ridiculous, and put on the orange Illinois tie Dad had gotten me as a gift. It acted as my talisman for the day; when I got nervous, I told myself, "Who cares if the professorial Trinity hates your work? You're already in grad school."

One of the critiques has stayed with me, although I've interpreted it differently, I think, than Prof. F. meant it to sound: "How are we going to make this poet into a historical analyst?"

If I can choose any part of my future, I hope that when I'm standing before a dissertation defense committee, the critique they have to say is, "If only we could have made you more of an analyst than a poet."


Stacey said...
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Stacey said...

You & me both, love. In the end, I think you're dead on in valuing the poet over the analyst. Even the late, great Arthur Schlesinger agrees: "The historical mind can be analytical, or it can be romantic," Dr. Schlesinger wrote in "A Thousand Days," his Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning 1965 account of the Kennedy presidency. "The best historians are both."