Monday, 3 November 2008


Writing sometimes feels like sculpting one of those impressive sandcastles which look like the Taj Mahal. You've got your micro view (the tiny grains of sand, the cornice you're applying a nice smooth finish to with the back of a trowel), your macro view (the finished awe-inducing result) and sometimes when you make alterations to the shape that you thought were quite simple, a whole side of the structure slides back into sandy anonymity on the beach while you watch, mouth agape and sand spade poised above the ruination. You look over at someone up the beach and wonder at the ease with which they seem to be building a scale Eiffle Tower sandcastle - how do they do that? Remember those little sandcastles built by firmly packing a bucket of sand? How easy were they!?
Le sigh.
It's all good. I've felt that that first chapter I put a lot of work into last year before going on leave, and re-applied the trowel to this semester was ready to show to Kate. But the whole ready-to-show-Kate thing added a whole new cast to the reading of it. Look at how that one turret seems to sag over there... why are the architraves lop-sided like that? Should that minaret be higher? More squat? Removed altogther?
I enjoy writing and I've enjoyed writing this chapter. I sometimes get a little bit caught up in the grain-of-sand level craft of the writing (correct tense being an issue once I get carried away, as is repetitive word use), but have found inspiration in the bigger concept framing and discipline in the book 'Authoring a PhD' by Patrick Dunleavy. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like an overview of how the sandcastle (thesis) should look once you stand back at some distance from it.
I guess once I reach my own arbitrary level of quality, which I will call R.T.S.K*, I will certainly be able to advance the chapter further with Kate's advice. I probably just need to wrap it up, truth be told.
*Ready to show to Kate.

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