Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hoop-jumping to commence soon!

The time has come to quit whining (even if only to myself) about my thesis, and to start writing. As my advisor implied, I can go on believing forever that I’ve not read enough to know anything about my topic. I’ve read some, I’ve done some thinking, and (theoretically) I can therefore begin. As my sister agreed, it’s all BS anyway, no better or worse than previous BS I’ve produced, especially a paper I wrote two years ago in a course called “Writing Pedagogy,” based on a piece of “found” text that consisted of the word “BLAH” handwritten more than 200 times. I created an erudite 16 or so pages about that “artifact.” Surely I can create 75 pages on the literature and films surrounding the (mostly fictional) character of “Calamity Jane.” If I can post on a blog, I can do anything! I hope such ego-boosting occurs with all who do blogs! I suspect that it might! Ahem. So, for all the friends and acquaintances whom I may be neglecting in order to focus on this master’s-degree-obtaining task, here’s the thing: Marylyn’s need to be needed must be set aside for a few months while she tries to meet the six-year deadline imposed by the degree-granting entity with which she has become entangled. If she does not complete the requirements by the end of April, all heck will break loose. Or rather, she’ll have to undergo re-examinations in courses that were taken six years ago, and she does not want to do that, even though they were great courses ("Introduction to Literary Criticism" and "Women's Autobiography"). Yes, I’ve heard of people who procrastinated longer than the two years I’ve been guilty of doing same, but I don’t have that luxury, being an “older” student, and having taken a course per semester, making it truly “gradual school,” as an artist friend calls it. It’s now or never. This won’t be my last blog post, but it will be the one I’ll be referring friends to for a while in order to explain my absence from their e-mail inboxes and other media. Carry on with life in the real world, and I'll rejoin you soon!


Brain said...

Hey. I can get to your blog from work now (perhaps it's a fluke).

I still don't know why Calamity Jane. Why Calamity Jane? Did you choose that topic? Did it choose you?

Don't waste too much time being a perfectionista; a load of shite from you is better than the best your average 20-somthin could come up with. In fact, you probably could do better than some of your teachers, so just write, edit, and git yer degree!!! Eeeee hawwww!!!

Marylyn said...

It took me about a year to come up with the topic. I had originally been considering literature having to do with the "femme fatale," read Rider Haggard's "She," and ordered some Henry Miller "novels." Then I remembered how horribly affected I was by the musical, "Calamity Jane," with Doris Day, when I was about nine years old. It being the 1950s, the main character (not much resembling the "real" turn-of-the-century Calamity) was required to clean up her act (in essence, deconstruct her perfectly allright current self) to win male "love." That led me to think about how a character/legend like that is used by each era to teach lessons about "fitting in." So, I'm starting at the beginning with the dime novel, "Deadwood Dick on Deck, or, Calamity Jane, Heroine of Whoop-Up," and moving onto a couple of bios, the film, "The Plainsman," a children's bio, the Doris Day musical, a "bio" film by Jane Alexander from the 1980s, "Buffalo Girls," by Larry McMurtry, and finally, the HBO series, "Deadwood," which already has critical essays written about it. That should just about cover it. But each "thread" of discovery leads to other discoveries and other disciplines, and I'm distressed because I know I can't possible SEE it all, let alone write about it all. Everything is connected to everything else!

Matt said...

Yowser! I remember in sixth grade we had to write reports on some general topic picked for us by the teacher. For example, the topic might have been to write about a country one liked. Most students simply went to the class encyclopedia and copied or paraphrased the article there. And usually got a good grade! I was fairly rebellious then and disgusted by that, so one time I simply copied the first paragraph from the encyclopedia and filled out the rest of the report with blah, blah, blah for three pages. This caused a parent-teacher conference. The teacher never understood the point I was making but my mom actualy did. I think that turned her against the teacher. I would like to read your paper on "blah" one of these days if possible.