Sobriquet 37.2: A Little Heap

Clov: Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished [Pause.] Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day suddenly, there's a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.
-Samuel Beckett, Endgame

One of the biggest problems I have had with writing my dissertation has been the tendency to feel that I must know everything about the topic of my research before I begin writing. Strangely, though, the one lesson I thought I had learned while writing my Master's thesis is that such encyclopedic knowledge requires considerably more reading than can reasonably fit into the time period I have to work with. Therefore, I must conclude, I should take the project in small stages--the "baby steps" Bill Murray's character must make in What About Bob? Doing so, I imagine, will enable me to focus on more manageable tasks like researching and writing on a single novel, which will eventually join with other equally small and manageable pieces to form a dissertation.


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