Monday, July 03, 2006

Back to the grind (but not really)

We're back in Charlottesville after almost a month in Ohio and Wisconsin. The time away was great. We got to see some good friends that we haven't seen in a while and have a lot of fun with family.

The pureness of the vacation was affected somewhat by the death of my paternal grandmother who passed away while we were in Wisconsin. She had been in steadily declining health in recent years and took a turn for the worse in the past couple of months. For us, the timing was fortuitous. I got to see Grandma one more time before she passed away--despite being a bit out of it, she immediately recognized me and Gideon--and we were able to be with my parents, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins in the days before and after the funeral. We hadn't seen her in two years so the fact that she died on our independently-planned vacation felt more than a little providential. I'm probably still processing the whole experience so you may hear more about it in the coming weeks.

In any case, today began my "six weeks of productivity"--the time before Tisha goes back to work when I can devote long stretches of the day to my dissertation. Unlike my good friend Cory, who is a childless high school teacher and can therefore wile away his summers, summers are prime work time for academics, especially graduate students who are trying to graduate in May. Not that I'm complaining (or envious, Cory, really). I have less of a real job than most anyone I know (who isn't also a graduate student) and I have been looking forward to this opportunity for quite a while.

I was ready to throw my computer in the lake a few weeks ago: the thoughts and the writing were slow and nothing seemed to be fitting together. Before we left Ohio for Wisconsin, I finally decided to table all thought about the dissertation until we made it back to Virginia and that seems to have helped my perspective. This morning, I was looking forward to working again and my assessment of what I had already written was markedly better than it was in early June (though I still have a long way to go).

I'll have to build up my writing stamina over the next few days so that I can make the most of the time that I have. Since I'm used to having blocks of only a couple of hours that are strewn throughout the week, an eight hour day feels like an eternity to think and write. It's a nice problem to have, though, and I 'm looking forward to solving it.


Anonymous said...

It was wonderful being together for the month of June. Now it is time for all of us to get some work done! Good luck with your thinking and writing, Son.
Love, Mom

cory said...

while your task is unparalleled in my world, i do feel a sense of kinship with you in overcoming the inertia of the writing process. i am praying for you right now...while i'm sitting in my backyard do virtually nothing.