Thursday, 21 July 2011


My dramatically-titled blog post is a little in jest.. but at the same time, my PhD is driving me utterly insane. My motivation levels are at level zero because for the past three weeks I have done nothing but read, revise, write, re-write, plan and re-plan over and over again. As a result of being asked to re-work my chapter in order to pass through to second year, my brain has decided to embrace apathy, fear and stupidity!

I am a very quick writer, the type of person who can knock out 3,000 words in one sitting and then spend two or three days editing what I've written. But ever since the horrible Viva experience I have been almost afraid to write anything. Again, typically I am not the kind of person that gets unnerved easily but I am definitely struggling at this point in time!

Shakespeare said that "things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear", so that is my main hope at the moment. That the planning and re-writing will all magically fall into place at some stage soon and all will be well. In the midst of this writing, I've also booked my trip to Smith College which is exciting, but I cannot allow myself to enjoy the thought of going to Smith until I have this chapter completed and more importantly, passed. I miss Sylvia - what I'm writing at the moment is the hypothesis by which I will interpret her work. I haven't looked at her poems in days. Since when did English Literature become more about theories and secondary readings, rather than the actual texts?

So, please keep your fingers crossed that I can hang onto whatever small amount of motivation I currently have. I've bascially decamped to Belfast to use the McClay library at Queen's. It's a good library but more importantly it's very quiet (so no-one can hear my screams!). Literally the only treat ahead for me will be going to see Prince live next weekend in Dublin. My best friend is a huge fan of The Purple One and we're going to spray our hair purple, wear glittery leotards and load up on Starfish and Coffee! It's going to be a brilliant night and a welcome distraction from my current headspace.

I'll check back in again soon with more updates on how I'm getting on. Hopefully things will be much brighter in a fortnight or so. It will be good to get back to poetry and Sylvia, after the swampy waters of theory! :)


Zoƫ said...

I'm in hell too and I haven't started typing yet. Its due in a month, no one to read my drafts. What a waste.

Good luck, surely Prince will bring your motivation back!

The Plath Diaries said...

Zoe, I feel your pain so much. And can I just say, without publicly bitching your institution too much, the level of supervisor/student contact is ridiculous when you take into consideration the fees you pay. I think I said to you before how my supervisor left the Uni during the summer, gave me no forwarding contact info and actually did not read any of my drafts - i.e. what I submitted had not been checked by ANYONE. I actually look back with anger on the whole experience because it took me about 2 years to pay off student overdrafts and a small loan I took out to get the qualification.

I really wouldn't want this to put you off going for a PhD someday. I thinkyou are so motivated and interested, it would be a shame to let this impact on your career. Good luck with everything! XXX

Zoe said...

Zoe that's so rubbish :( you should be seeing your supervisor loads! I email and arrive unexpectedly at my supervisor's door all of the time... you are paying for it! Can you not complain?

Maeve keep going! I am going through the same at the moment (at a much less important level of MA!) and it is all about wider themes, and theory.... 25,000 words due in in 5 weeks! I am in that strange calm stage at the moment where everything is so bad you just spend evenings completely ignoring it because you can't face up to the reality!

On a more positive note I am SO excited about seeing pictures of your trip to Smith College :)

Rehan Qayoom said...

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

(Arthur Hugh Clough).