Hi. I’m still alive. I’ve merely been working.

My chapter is trotting and stumbling along. I alternate between feeling good about life and that I’m writing complete rubbish, but that’s normal for PhD students. I’ve been walking around town making silly faces and talking to myself. I’m not sure how normal that is, but it’s normal for me, I guess. Experience tells me that everyone drawn to PhD work is slightly odd to begin with, but during the course of the PhD one frequently goes mad. To the point that my housemate and I can spend days discussing whether there is, and why there isn’t, a female equivalent to the word ‘esmasculate’, and immediately switch to making bad cheese jokes, such as:

Q: What did the cheese say when it saw itself in the mirror?
A: Haloumi!

But I digress.

I’ve been thinking about some of the advice given out during NaNoWriMo, and how some of it I don’t find very useful at all for creative writing but do for academic writing. One such piece of advice is that if you get stuck writing, skip ahead to something else. This has only occasionally worked for me with fiction writing, but it is excellent advice for academic writing. None of my thesis chapters have been written straight through from beginning to end. Instead, I write a fake introduction (it will be rewritten later), and skip around my outline as I have things to say. I leave notes to myself in bold brackets (the easier to see when one is scrolling thorugh a multi-page document), and fill them in as inspiration (or discipline) strikes.

In other news: today is the shortest day of the year. Living through several Scottish winters will make a pagan out of anyone. Happy Solstice! Tomorrow begins our slow ascent to summer and light. We are half-way through the darkness. If all my friends hadn’t left for the holidays already, I would have hosted a Feast of Sun Return tomorrow. I still might, for me.

But it’s back to work for now.