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    Sobriquet 59.7

    Thursday, October 15, 2009
    Although I've not done a whole lot of work for the dissertation today, having spent a very pleasant afternoon discussing Miller's A Canticle for Liebowitz and Camus's The Fall with my students, I find myself sufficiently energized to get a bit of reading done this evening despite the fatigue I feel. So, that's what I am going to do.

    For tomorrow: A bit more reading.

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    Today was another long -- though largely positive -- day. Thus, while I haven't gotten any reading done for the dissertation yet, I did make my way through enough of my lingering vocational obligations to make spending a few minutes with Coetzee possible before shutting down for the night.

    For tomorrow: Keep reading.


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    Tuesday, October 13, 2009
    Having just returned home from another thirteen-hour work day, I haven't much energy to write this evening. Still, given my recent struggle to cope with what seems like an insurmountable workload, I want to use this space to my advantage. Since I would very much like to begin the Afterword this weekend, what I aim to do between now and then is finish rereading Diary of a Bad Year. I need to make that a priority, so I am. I mean, I still have lots of work-for-salary work to do, but I think that this is a reasonable goal. And that's what I am going to do now: sit down and work on Coetzee for a bit before bed.

    For tomorrow: Read.

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    Monday, October 12, 2009
    This afternoon, I regained a tiny bit of the momentum I lost yesterday. I plowed through a good chunk of reading relatively early in the day and, though I was not nearly as efficient in the later afternoon, a nice meal with a good friend seems to have energized me just enough to get me through some reading for the dissertation as well as a bit more prep work for my classes this week.

    I'm still rather distressed by the seemingly unending onslaught of work coming at me from all sides. I want to finish the dissertation relatively soon, but I have so much other work to get through that I feel I am not making much progress, which is tremendously frustrating for me. I realize now, when it is far too late, that I probably should have applied for a dissertation fellowship of some sort. Instead, I am teaching more than twice as much as the average tenure-track professor just to fund the tail end of my education. But I have to try not to focus on that sort of thing. I suppose I'll take a lesson from Epictetus and expend my energy elsewhere.

    For tomorrow: Since it is a long day for me, just read a little bit more of Diary of a Bad Year.

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    Today turned out to be one of those days I wish I could do over. Although I woke up fairly early, I got off to a sluggish start and really didn't get anything done until the later part of the afternoon. I spent a few hours grading papers while watching the Yankees-Twins game which, coming on the heels of the Bengals' defeat of the Ravens in Baltimore, made for a very satisfying day for Erik, the Sports Fan but a somewhat less fulfilling day for Erik, the Scholar.

    As I alluded to yesterday, I have been struggling with a remarkably heavy work load this week, a burden that, in its daunting immensity, has resulted in an overwhelming sense of anxious inertia more than a few times over the past couple of days. Thus, while yesterday was a fairly productive period for me, today was unpleasantly slow, work-wise, and I really could not focus on much of anything academic for most of the day.

    As far as dissertation work goes, I have had next to no time to devote to my own work, and this frustrates me something fierce. Although my rereading of Diary of a Bad Year is important, I would really rather have made some headway on my conclusion. Hopefully, I will be able to make some progress on that front this coming week. I'd really like to finish the dissertation by semester's end, if at all possible.

    For tomorrow: Read or, if possible, try to get a bit of prep work done.

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    Sunday, October 11, 2009
    It's been rough going these past few days. I've got piles of student papers to grade, several hundred pages of fiction to read, and a few midterm examinations to write, so I haven't had much time to devote to the dissertation. Perhaps understandably, I've had a good deal of anxiety which, on occasion, has made it difficult for me to concentrate on my work. Today, though, has been fairly productive and, while I have not yet sat down to read a bit more of Diary of a Bad Year, I have made significant headway in my preparations for the coming week. Still, it frustrates the shit out of me to feel that I haven't the time to spend on my dissertation. Hopefully, things'll get easier after this week and I can begin writing my conclusion shortly.

    For tomorrow: Read and prep.

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    Wednesday, October 7, 2009
    I finished transcribing my notes on Elizabeth Costello this evening. This means I will be reviewing these and other materials, putting myself in position to start outlining the next bit of writing relatively soon.

    There's something disarming about the home stretch. It's like seeing an oasis materialize out of the desert . . . I can't help but feel it's a mirage.

    For tomorrow: Prewrite.


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