Sobriquet 52.2

Although I somehow managed to forget to post a "for tomorrow" assignment last night, I still had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do today. And, while I did wake up congested and a bit achy, I did sit down to write and I did manage to push my way through a bit more of my Disgrace chapter. And, like yesterday, it took me a very long time to write relatively little. It often strikes me that the bulk of the work is really in the blank spaces between the typed text, finding ways to pull words out of the nothingness and stringing them together. And that conjuring of words, that forging of order out of chaos is simply not seen in the end product. Books feel so smooth, so polished, that the strain of writing them is often forgotten in the act of reading them. Which, in the end, is probably a good thing. Still, that's one of the nice things about this blog: I like the fact that somewhere I can document that strain, that a reader can perceive the length of the process and the scope of the effort simply by looking at the string of posts. I like knowing that, in some way, the blank space on the pages won't be forgotten.

For tomorrow: Read a bit of criticism, transcribe notes on Elizabeth Costello or, if possible, add a bit more to the Disgrace chapter.


From Minxy:

Writing certainly isn't easy, and I couldn't imagine writing more than a 20 page term paper. I wouldn't have made it past the first chapter of a dissertation, so you should be proud of yourself that you're making your way through the third. I know I'm proud of you. :)
Anonymous said…
This is a very interesting concept for a blog. I just finished grad school and I think I would have really enjoyed this kind of diversionary/organizational writing and comradarie with an imagined ideal reader-- some unknown ideal person who gets it. Maybe I am the ideal reader--someone who likes literature and existential philosophy and punk rock. And you would not know I had found this had I not written today. I would be a voyeur.
I agree that sometimes the effort of writing is often lost in the reading. "Between thought and expression, lies a lifetime."
Thank you, Cara, for taking the time to say hello!

I don't know if I ever had an ideal reader in mind, but I suspect "punk rock-listening, existentialist bookworm" would be about as close as one could hope :).

But, yes. The blog has been a fun side project while working on the dissertation and, surprisingly often, a genuinely valuable organizational tool. The best part, though, as you might imagine, has been meeting other academics and Coetzee scholars. It seems so simple, turning a solitary endeavor into a semi-public one, but it has been a revelatory and enlightening experience for sure...

(And thanks for the Velvet Underground lyric!)


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